White-breasted Nuthatch

Sitta carolinensis

Summary 2

White-breasted nuthatches (Sitta carolinensis) are small birds that can often be spotted climbing up and down the trunks of trees. Their long bills make them easy to identify. Their bills are nearly as long as their heads and are curved slightly upward. White-breasted nuthatches have black crowns on their heads, with white cheeks and white undersides. Their bellies have a slightly pinkish region towards the tail. A nuthatch's back is bluish-gray. Their wings and tails are a mixture of white, black, and bluish-gray. Males tend to be slightly more brightly colored than females, with the dark parts of their plumage being very dark and contrasting with their light plumage. Females are more grayish overall.

Outside of the breeding season, they form mixed-species flocks with oak titmice, oregon juncos, and chestnut-backed chickadees.

To hear sounds of white-breasted nuthatches: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/White-breasted_Nuthatch/sounds

Where on campus? 3

Can be seen occasionally on redwoods by Lot 8 and along campus edges. Sometimes also forage on trees near the administration building.

Habitat 4

White-breasted nuthatches live in oak woodlands and mixed deciduous and coniferous forests.

Life History 5

Nesting White-breasted nuthatches are monogamous that stay together year-round. Females build nests in tree cavities and can lay up to 9 eggs/year.

Feeding White-breasted nuthatches feed on insects that they find in bark on trees as well as seeds. They cache seeds in the bark of trees to store for later.

Distribution 6

Southern Canada to Mexico. Absent from the Great Plains.

Migration 3


Sources and Credits

  1. (c) Brian Peterson, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND), http://www.flickr.com/photos/92824172@N00/2388338509
  2. Adapted by gillian360 from a work by (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), http://eol.org/data_objects/25066917
  3. (c) gillian360, some rights reserved (CC BY-SA)
  4. (c) The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA), http://eol.org/data_objects/25066916
  5. Adapted by gillian360 from a work by (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://eol.org/data_objects/28814943
  6. (c) NatureServe, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), http://eol.org/data_objects/28814938

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