Red-breasted Sapsucker Benefits Rufous Hummingbird

Red-breasted Sapsucker Benefits Rufous Hummingbird from Bob Armstrong on Vimeo.

  • This video is a good example of the relationship between Red-breasted Sapsuckers and Rufous Hummingbirds.
  • Sapsuckers typically drill holes in trees which causes the tree to release some of its sap.
  • These woodpeckers have a brush-like tongue to lap up the sap. Other woodpeckers have a tongue with a sharp, horny tip for spearing insects.
  • To learn more about woodpeckers go to Drummers in the Woods (Woodpeckers) by Bob Armstrong and Marge Hermans
  • To learn more about Rufous Hummingbirds go to To Mexico and Back Again (Rufous Hummingbirds) by Bob Armstrong and Marge Hermans
  • This sapsucker has gathered insects and sap to feed its youngsters.
  • In Alaska Rufous Hummingbirds are known to nest near sapsucker trees and feed heavily on the sap -- which may be more nutritious than flower nectar.
  • The hummingbirds will feed their youngsters the sap and the insects that might be attracted to the sap.
  • The distribution of Red-breasted Sapsuckers and Rufous Hummingbirds in Alaska is nearly identical.
  • Why?
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