[Tweeters] Williamson's Sapsucker male without white wing patches

Kevin Lucas kevinslucas at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 8 23:34:29 PST 2014

Today I ignored the certainty of lots of snow machine activity & noise to hike up through the snow along some forest roads in Yakima County. Despite the noise I found a few Williamson's Sapsuckers, one of which had a plumage not shown in my field guides, e.g. big (old) Sibley p.310. It had only a very little red on its chin/throat and had no white wing patches, but otherwise looked much like a typical adult male. It was drumming & calling, often on the same snag at the same time as a typically plumaged adult male. They both drummed on numerous 3" - 4" branch stubs, rather than on the trunk. A Hairy Woodpecker male that visited the same snags drummed on the trunk. I've seen leucistic birds before, and wonder if this might be melanistic, or if there are other explanations. I spent about an hour watching & photographing them drumming & flying around, so am pretty sure of the lack of white wing patches. Their drumming patterns were virtually identical, with
pitch differences depending on the size branch stub they used.

I've posted three photos in my "Identification help wanted" gallery:


Feel free to contact me off list.

Kevin Lucas
Yakima, WA

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