Description of the White-breasted Nuthatch
The White-breasted Nuthatch is blue-gray on the upperparts, with a darker cap, a white face, throat, and underparts, and rusty-orange undertail coverts. Its bill is long and pointed, and its tail is short and square.
Males have a black cap and nape. Length: 6 in. Wingspan: 11 in.
Females have a paler blackish cap and nape.
Seasonal change in appearance
Juveniles are similar to adults.
White-breasted Nuthatches are found primarily in deciduous woodlands, as well as towns or parks where mature trees are present.
White-breasted Nuthatches eat insects and seeds.
White-breasted Nuthatches forage on tree trunks and on larger limbs.
White-breasted Nuthatches occur throughout much of the U.S., southern Canada, and Mexico. Their population has increased in recent decades.
Bent Life History
Visit the Bent Life History for extensive additional information on the White-breasted 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
White-breasted Nuthatches often place a hard seed or nut in a bark crevice and then hammer it with their bill to crack or open it.
White-breasted Nuthatches have strong legs and feet, and are able to climb down as well as up a tree trunk.
A variety of loud, harsh calls are given, including a "schreeep" or a fast "enk enk enk".
Nuthatches with visit feeders for sunflower and suet.