more on the Atascadero sapsucker


Kevin Zimmer
 

In looking more critically at my photos of the sapsucker (posted earlier this morning as a "Red-naped"), I'm thinking that the bird may actually be an intergrade or hybrid Red-naped X Yellow-bellied.  It has a typical red nape patch posterior to the black bar, and the chin/throat pattern (white chin bounded below by red lower throat) is technically correct for female Red-naped.  However, the highly checkered or variegated pattern of the dorsum (particularly the mantle) is more typical of Yellow-bellied -- so much so that my initial naked-eye ID of the bird was "Yellow-bellied".  Also, the chin/throat pattern is actually intermediate between typical female Red-naped and female Yellow-bellied (all white chin & throat), in that the chin/throat is mostly white, with restricted red below.  In my experience, female Red-napeds more typically have restricted white on the chin, with the red of the throat being more extensive.  Definitely an interesting individual.  A hybrid Red-naped X Yellow-bellied would be particularly noteworthy, given that both putative parent species are rare migrants/ winter visitors to this region.

Kevin Zimmer
Atascadero

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