Whitebreasted nuthatch

Sitta carolinensis

SUBFAMILY

Sittinae

TAXONOMY

Sitta carolinensis Latham, 1790. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Sittelle a poitrine blanche; German: Carolinakleiber; Spanish: Saltapalo Blanco.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5 in (12.7 cm), with a short tail. The back is colored blue-gray, the crown black, and undersides and throat white.

DISTRIBUTION

Occurs widely in extreme southern Canada, through most of the United States, and into western Mexico. Does not migrate, except for northernmost populations that may move somewhat south.

HABITAT

Occurs in a wide range of mature, deciduous-dominated forest types.

BEHAVIOR

Occurs as pairs that defend a breeding territory. Typically does not migrate. Often flocks with chickadees in winter. The song is a series of nasal notes.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Gleans invertebrates from tree bark and foliage, and 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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