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While the nuthatch is an adorable and cute bird, they’re not the only bird out there. In fact, there are other birds that look like nuthatches!
Whether you’re trying to figure out what kind of bird you saw or if you want to identify similar-looking birds, this guide breaks down 10 different birds that are visually similar to the nuthatch!
|Range||Northern North America|
|Weight||0.3 to 0.4 ounces|
If you’re looking for the bird that people most commonly confuse with the nuthatch, that’s the chickadee. They fall within the same weight classifications and look incredibly similar.
There are many chickadee subspecies just like there are with the nuthatch, and there are multitudes of both types of birds. It might take you a while to routinely tell these two types of birds apart!
|Range||Europe and Northern Asia|
|Weight||0.25 to 5 ounces|
The treecreeper has a similar appearance to the nuthatch, though they tend to be a bit longer. They do have a chest that puffs out a little, though, and this trait leads to much of the confusion.
The treecreeper can get larger than the nuthatch, but many stay about the same size. Finally, you’ll only see the treecreeper throughout Europe and Northern Asia, so if you live in another part of the world, you won’t see this bird.
|Scientific Name||Baeolophus bicolor|
|Range||Eastern United States|
|Weight||0.6 to 0.9 ounces|
If you took away the tuft on the top of a tufted titmouse, they would look almost identical to a nuthatch, except the tufted titmouse is a bit larger. But due to their similar appearance and how easy it can be to miss a tuft on the bird’s head, many amateur bird watchers mistake the tufted titmouse for a nuthatch.
|Weight||0.3 to 0.4 ounces|
The wren is a bird species with multiple subspecies, and quite a few of those look like nuthatches. In fact, there are 88 different subspecies of the wren!
Not every subspecies looks like a nuthatch, but enough do, so it can be a confusing experience. It doesn’t help that there are at least a billion wrens worldwide, so you’re going to spot these small birds all over the place.
|Range||Australia and Eastern Asia|
|Weight||0.8 to 1 ounce|
If you don’t live near Australia, the Asia Pacific, or south-eastern Asia, there’s a good chance that you’ve never seen or heard of a whistler. They’re small birds, albeit larger than a nuthatch.
If you’re new to the area or just visiting where the whistler lives, it’s easy to mistake this bird for a large nuthatch. However, although they do have puffed-out chests, they have different colors and longer bodies.
|Scientific Name||Psaltriparus minimus|
|Range||Western United States and Mexico|
|Weight||0.2 to 0.3 ounces|
The bushtit is an extremely small bird, and if you only get a quick look at them, it’s easy to mix them up with the nuthatch. They have longer tail feathers but the bodies are almost identical. They both have pointed beaks, but the nuthatch’s beak tends to be just a bit longer.
|Range||Eastern and Northern North America|
|Weight||0.3 to 0.6 ounces|
While the Vireo is a small songbird, it’s not too common to mistake this bird for the nuthatch. Their bodies are just a bit too long, and while many have puffed bellies, they don’t have that signature puffed-out chest. Still, if you’re an amateur or catch a glimpse of them, it’s possible to mix up the two.
|Range||North America and northern South America|
|Weight||0.2 to 0.4 ounces|
There are many different warbler subspecies, and quite a few can be confused with a nuthatch. Some have the same signature puffed-out chest and short body, while others have brighter colors and longer bodies.
|Range||Northern North America|
|Weight||0.8 to 1.5 ounces|
There are many subspecies of sparrows, and they’re among the most populous birds in the entire world. In fact, if you combine all the subspecies, there are an estimated 50 billion sparrows out there.
They’re larger than the nuthatch, sometimes significantly so. Still, if you only catch a glimpse of a young sparrow, you might mistake them for a nuthatch. Most regular bird watchers won’t make this mistake, though.
|Weight||1.3 to 1.5 ounces|
While some people might mistake a crossbill for a nuthatch, it’s not that common of an error. The crossbill is a larger bird with a much more pronounced beak, and they typically have a unique rust coloring.
But if you’re not familiar with the crossbill, you might misidentify one as a nuthatch until you take a look at both species side by side.
The best way to tell different bird species apart is to get familiar with how each one looks! But sometimes you need a bit more help.
There are a few different things that you can do to help clear things up. First, look for distinctive markings or colors on the bird. Next, consider the time of year, as many birds only show up in certain areas at certain times.
Finally, if you’re viewing the bird near a feeder, consider their diet. Some birds don’t eat seeds or prefer different seeds, and this can help you differentiate what type of bird you’re looking at.
Now that you know what birds out there look like the nuthatch, you’re in a much better position to identify exactly what kind of bird you’re looking at. You can even head out and track down other similar-looking birds if you want.
If you get the chance to spot any of the birds on this list, you’re in for a real treat, so keep your eyes on the sky and see what birds you can find!
Featured Image Credit: Gagat55, Shutterstock
Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.
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