Definition of sapsucker in US English:



  • An American woodpecker that pecks rows of small holes in trees and visits them for sap and insects.

    Sphyrapicus, family Picidae: four species

    • ‘Major sap wells were defined as clusters of 100 or more holes on the boles or large branches of living trees and were located by visual survey of the forest and by observing the activity of foraging sapsuckers.’
    • ‘A small woodpecker flew into a tree above me, and when I saw its slender profile and long bill, I thought it must be a sapsucker.’
    • ‘They also eat other insects and some fruit, and they visit sapsucker wells to feed on the sap.’
    • ‘It catches insects in flight and uses sapsucker holes to feed on sap and insects attracted to the sap.’
    • ‘They also visit sapsucker holes and feed on sap and insects attracted to the holes.’
    • ‘I obtained sap only when my incisions were made within 0.5 cm above active sapsucker holes, and then only after sapsuckers had access to my holes for a few hours.’
    • ‘Red-naped Sapsuckers are the most common sapsucker in deciduous and streamside forests, especially in and around aspen, cottonwood, and willow.’
    • ‘Birds that have been observed to make incisions for sap include the North American sapsuckers and other woodpeckers including Acorn Woodpecker, White-fronted Woodpecker, and various European and Asian species.’
    • ‘Because trees may die as a result of sapsucker attack, and many animals may need sap for food, how sapsuckers choose their trees and extract sap from them has far-reaching implications for the whole forest community.’
    • ‘But by far the most fascinating character of this group was the red-breasted sapsucker.’
    • ‘Immature birds have been observed eating sap from sapsucker holes in trees.’
    • ‘They pierce the base of a flower to get at the nectar, and visit woodpecker and sapsucker holes for tree sap.’
    • ‘They also eat sap from sapsucker holes or from holes they themselves have drilled and also some fruit, flower nectar, seeds, and insects, especially flying ants.’
    • ‘To test whether the use of specific trees could help explain how sapsuckers obtain free-flowing sap from their incisions, I attempted to extract sap from both used and unused trees.’
    • ‘The largest of Washington's sapsuckers, Williamson's Sapsuckers are striking birds.’
    • ‘Their numbers may have declined because of habitat degradation, but these sapsuckers are still fairly numerous, and the Breeding Bird Survey has identified a non-significant annual increase in Washington since 1966.’
    • ‘Thus, although it is clear that the trees that sapsuckers attack are less healthy than surrounding trees, without more information, firm conclusions cannot be drawn about whether sapsucker use is a cause or an effect of this phenomenon.’
    • ‘When nectar resources are scarce, hummingbirds will also feed on sap from holes in trees made by sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus).’
    • ‘Alternatively, my drillings may have been adequate mimics of true sap holes, but the sapsuckers may employ additional (as yet unknown) techniques to induce sap flow.’
    • ‘They also feed on sap from sapsucker holes, berries, nuts, seeds, and suet.’