Nuthatch

Sitta europaea

SUBFAMILY

Sittinae

TAXONOMY

Sitta europaea Linnaeus, 1758. Twenty-five subspecies. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Eurasian nuthatch, wood nuthatch; French: Sittelle torchepot; German: Kleiber; Spanish: Trepador Azul.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5.5 in (14 cm), with a short tail. The back is colored blue-gray, the crown blue-gray, undersides brown to white, throat white, and with a black line through the eye. However, coloration varies considerably among the approximately 25 geographic subspecies of this wide-ranging species.

DISTRIBUTION

Occurs widely in temperate Eurasia, from the Atlantic to Pacific coasts.

HABITAT

Occurs in a wide range of mature temperate forests, ranging from deciduous- to conifer-dominated types.

BEHAVIOR

Occurs as pairs that defend a breeding territory. Does not migrate. Occurs in mixed-species flocks with tits (or chickadees) in the nonbreeding season. The song is a varied series of loud calls.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Gleans invertebrates from tree bark and foliage, especially on branches. Also eats fruits and seeds in winter.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Pairs nest in a tree cavity. The female incubates the eggs but both sexes feed the young.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. A widespread and abundant species.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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