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YELLOW BELLIED SAPSUCKER

While most woodpeckers possess a long tongue with a sharp tip, sapsuckers possess short tongue with hairs adapted to licking up sap. One fifth of the diet of the yellow bellied sapsucker is sap taken from a diversity of trees and shrubs. About 20 new half-inch-deep holes are made per day. Sap composes a greater percentage of its diet in late winter and spring and sapsuckers may feed almost entirely on sap during these seasons. The rest of its diet is composed of beetles, ants, moths, dragonflies, fruits, nuts, acorns and buds. This species is one of the most migratory woodpeckers, migrating to the southern U.S., Central America, and the Caribbean in winter (Backhouse, 2005; Winkler 1995; Short, 1982). Genetic evidence indicates that the two western forms of the yellow-bellied sapsucker should be considered as different species (Sibley, 2001).

Other species can feed at the holes that sapsuckers create including other woodpeckers, hummingbirds, orioles, insects, and mammals (Sibley, 2001).

YELLOW BELLIED SAPSUCKER