White Breasted Nuthatch

White Breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis


  • Size: 5 to 6 inches (13 - 15 cm)
  • Wingspan: 8 to 11 inches (20 - 27 cm)
  • Weight: .64 to 1.06 ounces (18 - 30 g)

The white breasted Nuthatch has a black cap (female's cap is grey) with a white face, blue-grey back and white underside. The bill is long, straight and slightly upturned.


Eats nuts, acorns and insects. Is attracted to bird feeders with black oil sunflower seeds and suet bird food.

Sex Differences:

The female's back and cap are grey to light grey. The male's back and cap are much darker. The back is dark grey and the cap is dark blue to black.


White breasted Nuthatches are cavity nesters. They will nest in natural tree cavities, abandoned woodpecker holes and birdhouses. If you are trying to attract a pair of nuthatches with a nest box, it should be placed 5 to 15 feet above the ground. Click here for more specific information on bird houses. The clutch will contain 3 to 10 eggs and the incubation period is 11 to 13 days.


White Breasted Nuthatch
White Breasted Nuthatch Map Key

A Few Things You Probably Didn't Know:

A nuthatch will walk head first down the trunk of a tree searching for insects. This enables them to see insects that other birds miss while walking up the trunk.

They won't eat sunflower seeds at your bird feeders. Instead, they will take the seeds to a near-by tree. They will then wedge it into a crevice and hammer it open in order to eat it.

In the winter, you can often find nuthatches with chickadees, titmice and brown creepers.

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