White-breasted Nuthatch

Sitta carolinensis

Order

PASSERIFORMES

Family

Nuthatches (Sittidae)

Code 4

WBNU

Code 6

SITCAR

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The White-breasted Nuthatch is a small songbird that prefers to breed in old woodlands through temperate North America. Food is foraged on trunks and branches of trees, and diets consist mainly of seeds, acorns and hickory nuts. Nests are made in tree holes, and this species is subject to being prey for owls, hawks and snakes. Forest clearing has contributed to a loss of natural habitat, but populations remain steady. Some northern populations may be migratory, but most are believed to be permanent residents. The current conservation rating of the White-breasted Nuthatch is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

White-breasted Nuthatch: Large nuthatch, blue-gray upperparts, black crown and nape, and white face, underparts. Tail is dark with white corners. Legs and feet are black. Female is similar but with blue-gray crown and nape. Eats spiders,insects, nuts and seeds. Weak fluttering flight, alternates rapid wing beats with periods of wings drawn to sides.


Range and Habitat

White-breasted Nuthatch: Largely resident from British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia south to California, Arizona, and northern Florida. Absent from treeless areas in the Great Plains and semiarid shrub and scrub steppe of the Great Basin. Common and widespread, inhabits mixed deciduous and coniferous forests, and prefers the presence of oak trees.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

"yank-yank"

INTERESTING FACTS

  • They gather nuts and seeds, jam them into tree bark, and hammer or "hatch" the food open with their bills. A group of nuthatches are collectively known as a "jar" of nuthatches.
  • They often travel with small mixed flocks in winter. One explanation for these flocks is that the birds gain protection from predators by the vigilance of the other birds.
  • While the Red-breasted, Pygmy, and Brown-headed Nuthatches are mostly found in pines, the White-breasted Nuthatch prefers deciduous trees.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for White-breasted Nuthatch

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Michael Oberhofer

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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UnderpartsX
Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.
UpperpartsX
Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
CrownX
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
FaceX
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
NapeX
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X