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threatened and/or endangered

White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis


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White-breasted Nuthatch
credit: Mdf/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Sittidae, Nuthatches view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has slate-gray back and wings, with dark centers and pale edges to tertials and wing coverts. Nape and crown are black, contrasting with white face, throat, and breast; underparts are otherwise rather pale, with gray wash on flanks, and rufous and white on vent and undertail coverts. ADULT FEMALE Similar, but crown and nape are dark gray, not black, and flanks are paler. JUVENILE Similar to adult, but wing feathers have buff fringes.

Dimensions Length: 5-6" (13-15 cm)

Habitat Common resident of mixed and deciduous woodland. Some dispersal occurs outside breeding season, presumably related to food shortages.

Observation Tips Easy to see and identify.

Range Texas, Southeast, Florida, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Great Lakes, New England, California, Eastern Canada, Plains, Western Canada, Northwest, Mid-Atlantic

Voice Song is a series of nasal, whistling notes; call is a nasal n'yenk.

Discussion North America's largest nuthatch. Often joins roving mixed-species flocks outside breeding season and visits bird feeders. Like other nuthatches, often climbs down tree trunks headfirst. Several subspecies exist; eastern birds are described here. Sexes are separable.