Red-naped Sapsuckers of Clark County, Idaho

Red-naped Sapsucker maleRed-naped Sapsucker male – Nikon D7100, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

It was a Sapsuckery trip to Montana and Idaho last week, with Red-naped and Williamson’s Sapsuckers at their nesting cavities and what I believe to have been a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker that I didn’t get an image of. I guess I could call it a Sapsucker Trifecta!

The male Red-naped Sapsucker above is the bird that came in to investigate the Magical Sapsucker Tree with a Williamson’s Sapsucker pair feeding their young that I posted about earlier.

Red-naped Sapsucker femaleRed-naped Sapsucker female – Nikon D7100, f7.1, 1/125, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I did find another nesting tree last week because a House Wren flitting about caught my eye just like in late May when chattering House Wrens clued me in on the first Williamson’s Sapsuckers excavating their nests. This time I only saw the House Wren for a second but it drew my eye to an Aspen with at least two nesting cavities in it. Seconds after seeing the House Wren a female Red-naped Sapsucker flew in with a bill full of sap and entered the nesting cavity and soon afterwards a male showed up as well. I could hear their young begging to be fed inside of the tree.

It was great fun photographing these two sapsucker species and I wish I had been able to get at least one ID confirming image of the Yellow-bellied too.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Jane Chesebrough

    Handsome fellow. Haven’t seen any sapsuckers in a long time. See signs of them on the trees but I think they are old signs. Must keep my eyes open.

  2. These beautiful images remind me of the Downey Woodpeckers that often come to our suit feeder in Bountiful UT, just 6-feet away from us at the patio table — so brave, quiet, and tame.

  3. Patty Chadwick

    Thank you…both images are beautiful, but first is extra special.

  4. Wonderful birds, wonderful images. Thank you.

  5. Beautiful pictures!

  6. Beautiful images. Especially like the 1st one!

  7. Yes, that is really something, cheers Mia.

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