Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A remarkable genus of Picidæ, having the tongue obtuse, brushy, and scarcely extensile, owing to the shortness of the hyoid bones, whose horns do not curl up over the hindhead; the sapsuckers, or sapsucking woodpeckers. There are several species, all American, feeding upon soft fruits and sapwood, as well as upon insects. The common yellow-bellied woodpecker of the United States is S. varius, of which a variety, S. nuchalis, is found in the west, and another, S ruber, has the whole head, neck. and breast carmine-red. A very distinct species is S. thyroideus of the western United States, notable for the great difference between the sexes, which long caused them to be regarded as different species, and even placed in different genera. The condition of the hyoid apparatus in this genus is unique, though an approach to it is seen in the genus Xenopicus. See cut under
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