White-breasted Nuthatch

Sitta carolinensis




Nuthatches (Sittidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White to pink with brown, purple and red marks

Number of Eggs:

3 - 10

Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

10 - 60 feet above ground.

Nest Material:

Lined with bark shreds, hair, and feathers.





White-breasted Nuthatch: Large nuthatch with blue-gray upperparts, black crown and nape, and white face and underparts. Tail is dark with white corners. Female is similar but with blue-gray crown and nape.

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.

Breeding and Nesting

White-breasted Nuthatch: Three to ten white to pink eggs, marked with brown, purple and red, are laid in a cup nest made of twigs and grass, lined with bark shreds, hair, and feathers, and built in a natural cavity, knothole, woodpecker hole, or bird box, 10 to 60 feet above ground. Female incubates eggs for about 12 days.

Foraging and Feeding

White-breasted Nuthatch: Feeds on insects, spiders, seeds, and nuts. "Nuthatch” is derived from its habit of placing seeds or nuts in crevices of trees, then prying them open with its bill; may hide seeds in loose bark or crevices.

Readily Eats

Suet, Sunflower Seed


White-breasted Nuthatch: This bird is usually quiet during breeding season and in the summer. In late winter and spring it sings a series of about 6-8 low whistled notes. The call is a nasal sounding "yank-yank."

Similar Species

White-breasted Nuthatch: Red-breasted Nuthatch has a black eye-line and red underparts. Brown-headed and Pygmy nuthatches have brown caps and white patch on nape. While not definitive, Red-breasted, Pygmy, and Brown-headed nuthatches are mostly found in pines, whereas the White-breasted prefers deciduous trees.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
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