White-breasted Nuthatch

A White-breasted Nuthatch standing upside down on a tree trunk
Photo by Patrice Bouchard

The white-breasted nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) is a species of bird in the nuthatch family Sittidae. It is a medium-sized nuthatch, measuring approximately 15.5 cm (6.1 in) in length. Coloration varies somewhat along the species’ range, but the upper parts are light blue-gray, with a black crown and nape in males, while females have a dark gray crown. The underparts are whitish, with a reddish tinge on the lower abdomen. Despite not being closely related, the white-breasted nuthatch and the white wagtail are very similar in plumage.[2] The white-breasted nuthatch is a noisy bird. It has a nasal voice and often utters little cries or vocalizations, often composed of repetitions of small invariant whistles. In summer, it is an exclusively insectivorous bird, consuming a wide range of arthropods, but in winter its diet consists mainly of seeds. The nest is located in the cavity of a tree. The clutch consists of five to nine eggs, incubated for two weeks by the female, who is fed by the male. The two adults then feed the young until they fledge, and for a few weeks after that.

Visit All About Birds hosted by The Cornell Lab for more information.

Scroll to Top