Species: Red-breasted Nuthatch
The Red-breasted Nuthatch is a common resident of the boreal forests
of North America. It can be seen and heard in non-breeding
foraging flocks. Its ‘yank yank’ call is distinctive.
Its range in coniferous forests extends from the Pacific Coast of
B.C. to the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia, southward into the
mountains of the American Southwest and the southern Appalachians in
Small, short-billed and short-tailed. Length: 11.5 cm.
Weight: 10 g.
Short black bill. Distinct white supercilium, black eyeline
and black crown. White throat extending beneath black eyeline.
Back, wings and tail bluish-grey. Rust underparts.
Adult Female and Juvenile:
Duller head and paler underparts than adult male.
Distinct from all other nuthatches by white supercilium bordered by
black eyeline and black crown and rust underparts. Also, the
White-breasted nuthatch is larger.
In winter the Red-breasted Nuthatch is frequently found and heard in
flocks of chickadees and kinglets. It exhibits characteristic
behaviours, such as climbing head-down on the trunk of trees probing
for insects, extracting and caching seeds in the winter.
Found in mature and diverse stands of coniferous forests, especially
where spruce, fir, pine, hemlock, larch and cedar are present.
May breed in mixed woodland when there is a strong coniferous
This is the only North American nuthatch to undergo regular
irruptive movements that appear to be primarily driven by food
Breeding birds excavate their own nest cavities in tree snags, only
rarely using existing cavities or nest boxes. A large amount
of conifer resin is collected by parents from live trees and is
smeared around the entrance during incubation and nestling periods
to deter predators. Inside, the nest is lined with fur,
feathers, hair, and fine grasses. Five to six eggs are laid
and are white to pinkish-white, marked with reddish-brown.
Status is Least Concern.
A year round resident, the Red-breasted Nuthatch's preferred
habitat is coniferous forest which occurs within Colony Farm
but outside of the banding area. Capture rates (2010-2012;
standardized as birds captured per 100 net hours) occur in
May and October as a result of few individuals dispersing
within the park.