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Williamson’s Sapsucker

Sphyrapicus thyroideus




Endangered (Federal)
Blue List (Provincial)


The Williamsons's Sapsucker is a medium sized migratory woodpecker that excavates into trees and has a specialized tongue for eating sap. The males have a black body with distinct white patches of white, a red patch on the upper throat and a yellow belly. The females are heavily barred with no white patches, they have a black and yellow belly and a brownish head.

Williamson's Sapsucker breeds in coniferous mountain forests at middle to high elevations throughout most of its range. It uses mixed coniferous-deciduous forests where dead standing Trembling Aspen, Ponderosa Pine or Douglas Fir trees are often used for nesting. They also need decaying trees, logs and stumps that are used by ants for foraging


-Loss of habitat due to human development
-Removal of decaying trees , logs and stumps
-Loss of habitat due to stand replacing fire
-Nesting mortality due to removal of nest trees during breeding season

You Can Help!

-Retain standing dead and dying trees especially Trembling Aspen Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir
-Retain decaying logs and stumps
-Consider implementing a permitted prescribed burn to reduce chance of stand replacing fire
-Do not disturb potential nest sites during breeding season (late March - mid April)


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