Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatches are tiny, active songbirds with long bills and short tails.

Red-breasted Nuthatches are blue-gray birds with black crowns. white faces with a black stripe across their eyes and white throats. They have rusty-cinnamon underparts.

  • Sitta canadensis
  • Length: 4.3 in (11 cm)
  • Weight: 0.3 – 0.5 oz (8 – 13 g)
  • Wingspan: 7.1 – 7.9 in (18 – 20 cm)


Red-breasted Nuthatches remain all year in northeastern and western states, Alaska and Canada but may move south in winter if cone crops are poor.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Red-breasted Nuthatches in coniferous woods with spruce, fir, pine, hemlock, and western red cedar trees, foraging for cones. When their food sources are sorely lacking, they tend to use other habitats like orchards, parks, plantations, and shade trees. They are also known for visiting backyard feeders.

Red-breasted Nuthatches mainly eat conifer seeds from their own stored cache or those that they’ve just picked. In summer, they add insects, beetles, caterpillars, spiders, and ants to their diet to provide protein to their nestlings.

Red-breasted Nuthatch Call:


Nests of Red-breasted Nuthatches are existing holes in trees or when there is none, they excavate their own from completely dead trees, dead parts of live trees, or trees with broken tops. The female then lines the cavity with fur, feathers, and fine grass. Sometimes, the adults apply conifer resin to the entrance using a piece of bark.

Female Red-breasted Nuthatches usually lay two to eight eggs. The incubation period takes twelve to thirteen days and is accomplished by the female alone. She continues to brood over them for the next two to three weeks.


Attract Red-breasted Nuthatches to your backyard with black oil sunflower seeds, suet feeders, peanuts, and mealworms.

Fun Fact:

When they find large pieces of food, they will wedge these in bark crevices and hack at them with their bills to break them up into smaller pieces.