Red-breasted Nuthatch

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Sittidae
Genus: Sitta
Species: canadensis

La. passer  sparrow, small bird
La. forma  form, kind, species
Gr. sitte  woodpecker like bird
mentioned by Aristotle
La. -idae appearance, resemblance
La. canadensis  for Canada

Four to five inches long. Black crown, brown wings and tail. White brow and thin white strip from above the base of the beak, above the eye, to the back of the head. White throat and cheeks. Gray back. Light rusty red or gold underside.

Painting of red-breasted nuthatches perched on tree limbs
Lives in coniferous and mixed forests throughout the West Coast and Rocky Mountain States, most of Canada and southern Alaska, the Great Lakes region, and from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to Appalachia.
A USGS range map for Red-breasted Nuthatches showing dense population along the West Coast, western Canada and along and above the Great Lakes and northern East Coast.
Varying numbers of red-breasted nuthatches may migrate moderate distances depending on each season’s pine cone crop, possibly as far as southern US or northern Mexico.
Builds grass nests in natural or abandon woodpecker cavities or birdhouses from a few feet to well out of reach.

Lays four to six, more or less, creamy white speckled eggs which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another three weeks.

Smears sticky tree pitch (sap) around the outside of their cavity entrances.

Runs about, down, up, and underneath coniferous (pine and spruce) tree limbs foraging for insects and spiders inhabiting bark crevices. Eats pine seeds and is attracted to suet feeders.

Secures nuts in the cracks of bark so it may hammer them apart or for later retrieval. Nuthatches feed with chickadees and titmice at feeders

A painting of red-breasted Nuthatches foraging on a tree limb
A territorial bird, it may be seen chasing other bird species away from nesting and foraging spaces.
The Red-breasted Nuthatch Birdhouse (same as for the White-breasted Nuthatches, Chickadees, Titmice and Downy Woodpeckers) has a 4″ by 4″ floor, 9″ inside ceiling, 1 1/4″ diameter entrance hole located 7″ above the floor, ventilation openings, hinged roof secured with shutter hooks and is assembled with screws.  More about this birdhouse.
Mount nest box on a tree trunk between eye level and up to 15 feet if necessary. At least out of reach is best to deter the curious, unless the box is well concealed.

Because nuthatches commonly nest in natural or abandon cavities, or excavate their own cavities, place a few chips on the nest box floor.

Make more attractive to nuthatches by fixing bark with nails or glue to the nest box exterior.
Chickadees, titmice, wrens, downy woodpeckers and other nuthatches may use this box.

Home            Birds             Birdhouses            Birdhouse Plans Index        Bird Forum

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Painting of red-breasted nuthatches perched on tree limbs

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Sittidae
Genus: Sitta
Species: canadensis

La. passer  sparrow, small bird
La. forma  form, kind, species
Gr. sitte  woodpecker like bird
mentioned by Aristotle
La. -idae appearance, resemblance
La. canadensis  for Canada

Four to five inches long. Black crown, brown wings and tail. White brow and thin white strip from above the base of the beak, above the eye, to the back of the head. White throat and cheeks. Gray back. Light rusty red or gold underside.

Lives in coniferous and mixed forests throughout the West Coast and Rocky Mountain States, most of Canada and southern Alaska, the Great Lakes region, and from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to Appalachia.

Varying numbers may migrate moderate distances depending on each season’s pine cone crop, as far as southern US or northern Mexico.

A USGS range map for Red-breasted Nuthatches showing dense population along the West Coast, western Canada and along and above the Great Lakes and northern East Coast.
Builds grass nests in natural or abandon woodpecker cavities or birdhouses from a few feet to well out of reach.

Lays four to six, more or less, creamy white speckled eggs which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another three weeks.

A painting of red-breasted Nuthatches foraging on a tree limb
Smears sticky tree pitch (sap) around the outside of their cavity entrances.

Runs about, down, up, and underneath coniferous (pine and spruce) tree limbs foraging for insects and spiders inhabiting bark crevices. Eats pine seeds and is attracted to suet feeders.

Secures nuts in the cracks of bark so it may hammer them apart or for later retrieval. Nuthatches feed with chickadees and titmice at feeders.

A territorial bird, it may be seen chasing other bird species away from nesting and foraging spaces.

View and print birdhouse plans for chickadees, nuthatches, titmice and downy woodpeckers.
The Red-breasted Nuthatch Birdhouse (same as for the White-breasted Nuthatches, Chickadees, Titmice and Downy Woodpeckers) has a 4″ by 4″ floor, 9″ inside ceiling, 1 1/4″ diameter entrance hole located 7″ above the floor, ventilation openings, hinged roof secured with shutter hooks and is assembled with screws.

Mount nest box on a tree trunk between eye level and up to 15 feet if necessary. It is best mounted at least as high as just out of reach unless it is well concealed.

Place a few chips on the nest box floor. Make the box more attractive to nuthatches by fixing bark with nails or glue to the nest box exterior.

Remove the nest from the box well after the brood rearing season is past.

Chickadees, titmice, wrens, downy woodpeckers and other nuthatches may use this box.

Birds     |     Birdhouses     |     Plans     |     Forum

Birds      |      Birdhouses      |      Forum