BREEDING MALEThe Brown-headed Nuthatch has gray upperparts, a brownish cap, whitish underparts, a short, squared, gray tail, and a straight, sturdy bill.
Seasonal change in appearanceNone.
JuvenileSimilar to adults.
HabitatPine woods, or pine woods with mixed deciduous trees.
DietPrimarily insects and seeds, especially pine seeds.
BehaviorForages on trunks and limbs, and sometimes stores seeds in bark crevices.
RangeBrown-headed Nuthatches are limited to the pine forests of the southeastern states, and have declined in recent decades.
Bent Life History
Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the Brown-headed Nuthatch.
The shape of a bird's wing is often an indication of its habits and behavior. Fast flying birds have long, pointed wings. Soaring birds have long, broad wings. Different songbirds will have a slightly different wing shape. Some species look so much alike (Empidonax flycatchers) that scientists sometimes use the length of specific feathers to confirm a species' identification.
Wing images from the University of Puget Sound, Slater Museum of Natural History
Brown-headed Nuthatches sometimes use a piece of bark as a prying tool to search for insects.
Some Brown-headed Nuthatch pairs have an additional helper that assists with feeding the young.
VocalizationsThe call of the Brown-headed Nuthatch is likened to the emphatic, two-note squeak of a rubber duck toy being squeezed and released.
The nest is a cavity typically excavated in the rotting wood of a stump or fencepost. It is often placed quite low, only a few feet from the ground, and is lined with bark fibers, wood chips, and pine seed 'wings."
EggsNumber: Usually lay 4-6 eggs, white in color and heavily marked with reddish-brown.
Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 14 days and leave the nest in another 18-19 days, but continue to associate with the adults for some time.