Williamson’s Sapsucker

Male Williamson's Sapsucker

Williamson’s Sapsuckers males are more black than many woodpeckers with a glossy black back, vertical wing patches, red throat, and yellow belly.

Females have the more common black and white pattern on their backs, and they have a brown head and black breast patch.

  • Sphyrapicus thyroideus
  • Length: 8.3 – 9.8 in (21 – 25 cm)
  • Weight: 1.6 – 1.9 oz (44 – 55 g)
  • Wingspan: 17 in (43 cm)


Williamson’s Sapsuckers are migratory and spend the summer breeding in the mountainous west and the winter in southern states and Mexico.

Habitat And Diet

Mainly feeding on sap from conifer trees, especially in spring, and then more insects such as ants, beetles, and flies in summer. Winter food is often fruit and seeds.

Williamson’s Sapsucker Call and Drumming:


Nests of Williamson’s Sapsuckers are usually in tree cavities and excavated by the males. They may choose trees with dead heartwood or live ones with fungal infection because it makes the heartwood soft. They excavate new nest holes in these same trees every year.

The female lays three to seven eggs and they have to wait twelve to fourteen days before they hatch. Incubation is done by both sexes. The young leave the nest about three to four weeks after hatching.

Fun Fact:

The female Williamson’s Sapsucker was originally thought to be a totally different species and was named the “Black-breasted Woodpecker”.