Wildlife In Focus | Eurasian Nuthatch

David Coultham

Updated on:

The Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) has a compact, plump body shape similar to that of a small woodpecker, but they are about the size of a large tit such as a Great Tit. They have a long, powerful bill with a black stripe extending along the line of their eyes. Blue-grey wings with a chestnut color on their sides and under the tail feathers.

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Video | Everything You Need To Know About The Eurasian Nuthatch

MANKIND’S IMPACT ON THE Nuthatch

Loss of habitat is a major threat from mankind, as the birds favor broadleaved woodlands. That said, populations in the U.K. are doing well with estimates supporting that there are in excess of 220 thousand breeding territories.

Conservation Status

Nuthatch Diet

Nuthatches eat insects and invertebrates, which make up a large part of their spring and summer diet. They will eat nuts and seeds during the autumn and winter. When visiting gardens, they will take nuts, seed, and fat year-round.

Habitat

They are a woodland bird, favoring broadleaved woodland; in particular oak trees. They rarely travel far from their breeding grounds, but will visit gardens in search of food.

Note that this map is for a rough illustration of animal distribution across the UK, whereby light green indicates established populations.

Behavior

They are fun birds to watch as they dart about amongst the trees, and are able to descend trees head first. During the winter, they collect nuts and seeds and hide them in spaces in the bark of trees for later retrieval. Their call is quite distinctive, making it easy to recognize.

Nuthatch Song:

Sander Bot / xeno-canto.org

They typically nest in tree cavities, laying up to eight eggs; which hatch after two weeks, and are fully fledged after around three to four weeks. They sometimes nest in woodpecker holes, and will often plaster mud around nest entrances in order to restrict access to larger birds.

Stats

They are around 14 cm in length, with a wing span of up to 27 cm, and weigh up to 25 grams.

Nuthatch Natural Predators

The Sparrow-hawk is a major threat to them, as they will snatch adults as well as chicks from their nests. Eggs and chicks are also susceptible to predation by mammals.

Where & When To See

Nuthatches live & breed across the entirety of England and Wales. The warmer winters also mean they can be seen in Scotland, particularly where there are areas of natural habitat.

References

Population data based on RSPB



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