SE Colorado Birding

Birding and discussion: A conservation-oriented birding blog that emphasizes low-impact birding and sustainable birding practices together with the enjoyment of birds. Southeast Colorado offers a diversity of habitats which provide premiere birding opportunities. Save Sabal Palm

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A surprise--a winter Red-naped Sapsucker

Red-naped Sapsuckers breed in Colorado but migrate in south in the fall to southern New Mexico and Mexico. So I was quite surprised to find a one on our Holy Cross Abbey grounds (open to the public) this morning. There have been late sightings in the mountains until late November but in the lowlands they persist only until mid-November, which would put this bird a month later.

The "bible" of for birds in this state, Colorado Birdsby Andrews and Righter (sadly outdated as it was published in 1992), states, "The winter status of this species is unclear," though they have occurred regularly in the far southwestern portion of the state.

This sapsucker is a female. She has a white chin and upper throat with red on lower throat area and a red patch on nape, two white stripes on face framed by black stripes (the malar stripe is fairly wide and the red feathers do not invade it as often occurs in this species), back has two white longitudinal bands separated by a black stripe that runs down the middle of most of the back. Most of these field marks can be seen in the top photo.

This Red-naped female has all the characteristics of an adult (Definitive Basic plumage) with a black throat patch which is visible in the lower photo. This sapsucker also showed a little yellow wash on its breast which is slightly visible. This close-up views in these photos were made possible by the 12X zoom on my digital camera and then by cropping to enlarge the photos. I rarely do any editing other than cropping but I did brighten and add contrast to the lower photo as the bird was dark as it was shaded in this photo.


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