Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch
(Sitta canadensis)

Order:  Passeriformes
Family:  Sittidae

Photo © Steve Byland

Red-breasted Nuthatch Information

Length:  4.5"

Habitat:  Coniferous forests, preferring habitat that includes spruce, fir, or cedar. Also found in mixed coniferous/deciduous woodlands.

Winter habitat is the same for resident population.

Birds that move southward during the winter may also frequent deciduous woods, orchards, parks, and suburban areas.

Diet:  During breeding season, mostly bark insects and spiders and their larvae, especially beetles. Nestlings are also fed insects. In the winter, seeds of coniferous trees and sedges.

  Songs and calls of Red-breasted Nuthatch

Preferred Bird Feeder Food

Red-breasted Nuthatches are attracted to feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, hulled sunflower seeds, peanuts (whole or hulled), and suet. They especially enjoy suet containing peanut butter.

These birds will come to tube feeders, hoppers, platform feeders and suet cages.

Additional Information

Red-breasted Nuthatch
Photo, description, habitat, behavior, diet, nesting, migration status, and conservation status. Includes range map and song. (From BirdWeb)

  More Winter Feeder Birds

Red-breasted Nuthatch
Identification Tips

  • Straight gray bill
  • Black crown and eyeline with white supercilium
  • White lower face and throat
  • Blue-gray upperparts
  • Reddish underparts
  • Short tail
  • Sexes similar but female duller
  • Feeds by hopping along tree trunks and branches often hanging upside down
  • Most often found in pine trees

(Credit: U. S. Geological Survey)

Red-breasted Nuthatch
Breeding Bird Survey Map,

Red-breasted Nuthatch Breeding Map

(Image credit: USGS)

Red-breasted Nuthatch
Range Maps from Cornell

Red-breasted Nuthatch nonbreeding and year-round range

Includes separate map of sightings.

Red-breasted Nuthatch
Christmas Bird Count Map

Historical CBC Map from USGS