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Nuthatch (Sitta europaea)

A resident bird characterised by its distinctive movement on tree trunks.

Common name: nuthatch

Scientific name: Sitta europaea

Family: Sittidae (nuthatches)

Appearance

Head: grey-blue head with distinctive black stripe across its eye, white cheeks and a long, pointed bill. 

Wings: grey-blue in colouration. 

Body: grey-blue back, with orange tinged underparts. 

Listen to the nuthatch:

Where to spot

Found throughout England and Wales, it favours deciduous woodland and parkland with mature trees. It can characteristically be seen on the trunks of trees erratically moving along.

Feeding

Its diet consists of nuts, such as acorns, as well as seeds and invertebrates.

Breeding

Nesting occurs between April and May, when six to eight eggs are laid. Instead of building a nest this species finds old holes or crevices in trees where they lay their eggs. The female will however alter the nest hole using mud, protecting the chicks from predation by other birds. The chicks will fledge at around 24 days old.

Facts

  • This species can be observed going down the trunk of a tree head first.
  • Its call is a piercing sound, somewhat like a car alarm.
  • The nuthatch sometimes pushes nuts into gaps in trees so it can use its bill to open the shell.