Pygmy Nuthatch

Scientific name: Sitta pygmaea

Pygmy Nuthatches are social birds, and up to several relatives may help a breeding pair with food deliveries and territory defense. These helpers are probably one reason why the Pygmy Nuthatch has higher nest success than most other songbirds at nearly 90 percent.

Pygmy Nuthatches are capable of excavating their own cavities, but they will also use old woodpecker holes. Territories are used for foraging year-round, but usually aren’t defended outside of the breeding season. A form of controlled hypothermia is used by Pygmy Nuthatches to survive cold winter nights.

Photograph © Greg Lavaty