Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker - Word of the Week

We have a lot of woodpeckers living in our trees. One of the most common one's we see is a small black and white Downey woodpecker. The average less than six inches long and have a pretty short bill. One day earlier this year a larger version of that woodpecker started showing up at the suet feeder. The only woodpecker we can find that is close is a "Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker". Even if It wasn't one, I love that name. "You yellow bellied sap sucker, you" Sounds like a name that Yosemite Sam would call his horse after it threw him into a brier bush. The photo is courtesy of Barbara's fine eye and my Nikon D70.


  1. The larger than Downy woodpecker is called the Hairy woodpecker. The one in your picture is probably a Ladderback. They are more scarce and are not seen often. I have only had one come to the suet feeder. The Hairy ones are easy to recognise becaause they look like a giant Downy. The yellow bellied wood pecker has a red head and a yellow belly. They are as big as the flicker. We love to see the birds but get tired of fighting off the squirrels
    Love, Sue

  2. We have consulted our bird books over this and aren't convinced that it is a ladder back, a Hairy or a Yellow Bellied Sap Sucker. The male of the two has a red head that covers the entire top of the head. This is the female (I Think) You would love the one that comes to our suet block with a punk rocker hair cut. We haven't decided what he is either. MUD

  3. Anonymous10:54 AM

    The full red headed one is probably a male Red_bellied woodpecker which may also be the punk rocker. The one pictured looks like a female Yellow-bellied sap sucker. The punk rocker could be the male Yellow-bellied sap sucker or a male red-naped sapsucker or even a male ladderback with his crown displayed. Try to get a picture of him for positive identy.

  4. Anonymous9:59 AM

    Good that the cat came back. pretty Tiger. I am not in Arizona this winter so I am missing my family of woodpeckers with their red spot on their head. Good to see you doing fine. Best wishes for Christmas, Tumbleweed.

  5. Excellent photo! I've always loved that name, too:o)