Red-breasted Nuthatch

Sitta canadensis




Nuthatches (Sittidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White to light pink marked with red brown

Number of Eggs:

4 - 7

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

5 - 120 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with shredded bark, grass, and roots.


Some migrate



Red-breasted Nuthatch: Medium-sized nuthatch with blue-gray upperparts and pale rust-brown underparts. Head has black cap, white eyebrow, and black eyestripe; throat is white. Bill is slightly upturned. Female and juvenile have duller head, paler underparts.

Range and Habitat

Red-breasted Nuthatch: Breeds across Canada from southeastern Alaska, Manitoba, and Newfoundland south to southern California, Arizona, the Great Lakes region, and northern New England, and south in Appalachians to North Carolina. Spends winters in breeding range and irregularly south to the Gulf Coast. Preferred habitats include coniferous forests.

Breeding and Nesting

Red-breasted Nuthatch: Four to seven white to light pink eggs, marked with red brown, are laid in a cup of twigs and grass, lined with softer material, and built in a tree cavity. The entrance is usually smeared with pitch, presumably to discourage predators; pitch often gets on the bird's feathers, giving them a messy appearance. Nest is built by both parents, but female does most of the work. Eggs are incubated for approximately 12 days by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Red-breasted Nuthatch: Eats insects, spiders, egg masses, seeds, and nuts. "Nuthatch" is derived from "nut-hack", a reference to the habit of hacking or pecking open nuts by wedging them in a bark crevice and hammering them open with its bill.

Readily Eats

Sunflower Seed, Nut Pieces


Red-breasted Nuthatch: Call is a tinny "yank-yank."

Similar Species

Red-breasted Nuthatch: White-breasted Nuthatch lacks black eyeline and has mostly white underparts. Brown-headed and Pygmy nuthatches have brown cap, white patches on nape, and lack the eyeline.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The area on top of the head of the bird.
Also called the supercilicum or superciliary it is the arch of feathers over each eye.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X