The Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber), Red-naped Sapsucker (S.
nuchalis), and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (S. varius) were considered conspecifi c
(S. varius) until 1983 and 1985 (American OrnithologistsÕ Union 1983, 1985).
Although some hybridization occurs among these three taxa, gene exchange is
thought to be limited, and reproductive barriers prevent free interbreeding in
contact zones (Howell 1952, Short 1969, Devillers 1970, Johnson and Zink 1983,
Johnson and Johnson 1985).
Generally, the Red-breasted Sapsucker breeds in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
and along the coast of the Pacifi c Northwest from Oregon to southeast Alaska and in central British Columbia. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker breeds in the northern United States, extending west across Canada to eastern Alaska. The Red-naped Sapsucker breeds in the Rocky Mountains north of Mexico, along the east slope of the Cascade Mountains, in a few locations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and in the Black Hills of South Dakota (American OrnithologistsÕ Union 1998).
Author: Scott D. Rose, Howard E. Horne, and Thomas M. Haggerty
Volume Number: 55 Year Published: 2009
Issue Number: 1
Page Number: 3
Link to article: http://birdlife.aosbirds.org/2009/Vol 55 No 1 2009_p3-9.pdf
Link to the full issue of BirdLife: http://birdlife.aosbirds.org/2009/Vol 55 No 1 2009.pdf