Nuthatches are characterised by their large heads, short tails, and powerful beaks and feet. They are also known for the way they protect their territory by singing loud and simple songs. Most species in this family have bluish/gray underparts and have a black stripe through their eye.
White-breasted Nuthatch with its head deep in a hole in a tree looking for something.
White-breasted Nuthatch with its head in a hole on Virginius Island.
© Bill Telfair

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)

• The White-breasted Nuthatch although considered a small bird is the largest of the nuthatches.
• They love to eat insects, especially treehoppers, ants, caterpillars, stink bugs, weevil larvae, and beetles.
• White-breasted Nuthatches like to build their nests in natural tree cavities (holes) or abandoned woodpecker holes. They sometimes enlarge these holes but usually don’t ever make holes on their own.
• When upset, these nuthatches fan their tails, flick their wings, and raise the feathers on their back.

Identification Information

• Size: Sparrow sized or smaller (Small)
• Color: White-breasted Nuthatches are gray/blue on their backs and wings with a white face and bellies. They have a black or gray head that frames their face and makes it look like the bird is wearing a hood. Their lower belly and underneath their tail is a orange/brown.
All of the above information is an abbreviated version of information gathered from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Please visit their website for more in-depth bird information.

Last updated: September 16, 2019

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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
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Harpers Ferry , WV 25425


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