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Aves - Neognathae - Piciformes - Picidae - Sphyrapicus - Sphyrapicus varius

Sternum (Breast Bone) of a Sphyrapicus varius (Yellow-bellied Sapsucker)

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Species Description
The Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker is found in young deciduous forests across Canada, eastern Alaska, and northeastern United States, with a preference for aspen and birch trees. It mostly consumes sap from trees, but will also eat fruits and berries (gleaned from foliage) and insects (caught in the air or after being attrached to the sap). Two kinds of holes are made to collect sap: deep, round holes, in which the beak is inserted to probe for sap, and rectangular, shallow holes, which must constantly be maintained in order to ensure a supply of sap. It is thought that the saliva of the Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker contains an anti-coagulant that prevents sap from clogging and sealing the holes. Sapsuckers also seem to prefer trees that are already wounded and weakened, possibly because the sap of such trees is higher in amino acids and protein.
Skeletal Elements Available

Sternum (Breast Bone)
External Links
Animal Diversity Web
Encyclopedia of Life
Wikipedia Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Page

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