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Red-breasted or hybrid Sapsucker? Reno NV USA (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
On Jan 11, 2021 I visited a park in Reno NV called Bowers Mansion. I spotted a sapsucker there which didn't look entirely like the common species reported for Reno, i.e., the Red Breasted Sapsucker. I wondered if it might instead be a hybrid of Red-breasted and Red-naped sapsucker although this hybrid has only been reported in the Reno vicinity 6 times since 2012. I have enclosed the photos I was able to get. Are these photos sufficient to distinguish between the two possibilities? Any insight would be greatly appreciated, Kathy.

Red-naped Sapsucker small.jpg Red-naped Sapsucker7 small.jpg Red-naped Sapsucker9 small.jpg Red-naped Sapsucker11 small.jpg


Speak softly and carry a long lens
I'm not familiar with either species, let alone hybrids, but these photos look quite distinct from what's in my guidebook. Your bird looks a lot like a red-breasted, but with a little extra black-and-white patterning around the eye, a particularly large white "mustache", and distinct black-and-white stripes up the neck. Those features look highly suggestive of red-naped parentage. (Yellow-bellied has similar patterns, but seems less likely based on range.)

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