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Red-breasted Nuthatch

Sitta canadensis

Length: 4.5 inches Wingspan: 8 inches Seasonality: Winter / All Seasons
ID Keys: Size, Black eyestripe, white eyebrow, pale rusty orange underparts

Red-breasted Nuthatch - Sitta canadensisRed-breasted Nuthatches are a very tame winter visitor to home feeders in South Dakota, although they can also be found year-round in the Black Hills.  They will often ignore a human presence just a few feet away as they visit a feeder.  Winter numbers vary greatly from year to year.  They can migrate very early in the fall, often already arriving by September (as with the bird in the photo to the right).

Habitat: Nearly always found in conifer-dominated forests during the nesting season.  They will utilize all forest habitats during migration and in winter, and are also often found in urban settings.

Diet: Primarily insects in the summer, many seeds in the winter.

Behavior: Feeds by clambering along the trunks and branches of trees.  They will use crevices in tree bark as a seed cache, storing seeds for later retrieval. 

Nesting: May through July

Song: Red-breasted Nuthatch Song

Migration: Red-breasted Nuthatches are permanent residents in much of Canada and the mountains of the western United States.  Numbers and distribution in the rest of the United States vary greatly in winter from year to year.

Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Red-breasted Nuthatch sightings

Similar Species: White-breasted Nuthatch, Pygmy Nuthatch

Feeders: Sunflower seeds and suet.

Conservation Status: Populations are generally stable, with some indications of increases in summer breeding range.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Red-breasted Nuthatch

2) WhatBird - Red-breasted Nuthatch

3) Audubon Guide - Red-breasted Nuthatch

Photo Information: September 7th, 2007 - Newton Hills State Park - Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Red-breasted Nuthatch photos.

 

Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
Red-breasted Nuthatch - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common permanent resident in the Black Hills.  Uncommon and local permanent resident in other pine forests of the extreme western part of the state.  Uncommon to common winter visitor in the rest of the state.

Additional Red-breasted Nuthatch Photos
Click for a higher-resolution version of these photos
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