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White-breasted Nuthatch

Scientific name: Sitta Carolinensis

This small, acrobatic bird is often seen upside down on a tree trunk or branch as it is forging for insects beneath the bark. It has a rather unique appearance as well – a white head with black cap, blue-grey top and white belly. Females look nearly the same, substituting a grey cap for the black one.

They are year round inhabitants and in winter will be seen in mixed flocks with chickadees and tufted titmice. This is a survival strategy that small birds use to enhance their safety and increase their chances of finding food.

Their song is a nasal, repetitious “wha wha wha”. Listen below.

Photo Courtesy of Missouri Department of Conservation


.72 ounces


5 inches

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Insects, seeds and berries


Woodlands and woodlands edges


They are here year-round.

Survival Strategies

This bird will store food that it finds to eat later (called “caching”).  They are not above stealing from others. The males, in particular can be bullies at the bird feeder, pushing females aside. By comparison, the cedar waxwing males share with their mates.

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