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Eurasian Nuthatch: Field Guide, Pictures, Habitat & Info

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Eurasian Nuthatch

The Eurasian Nuthatch is a small, stocky songbird with a distinctive blue-grey upper body, white underparts, and a black cap. It has a strong, slightly down-curved bill, which it uses to pry open tree bark in search of insects. This nuthatch is found in woodlands throughout Europe and Asia. It often nests in tree cavities and will even use nest boxes placed in suitable habitats.

This nuthatch is a fairly common bird, but its numbers have declined in some areas due to habitat loss. Eurasian Nuthatches are protected under the Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.

hummingbird dividerEurasian Nuthatch General Description

Eurasian Nuthatch

Image Credit: Pixabay

Length 5 inches 
Wingspan  8.9–10.6 inches
Weight 0.5–1 ounce

The Eurasian nuthatch (Sitta europaea) is a small passerine bird. The adult has blue-grey upper parts, black head and neck sides, white underparts, and a black crown and bib. There is a white stripe above the eye.

The bill is black, and the legs are grey. The female has a browner head and neck sides. Juveniles are similar to adults but have browner upperparts. This bird gets its name from its habit of wedging acorns and other nuts into cracks in trees, then hacking at them with its strong bill until it can extract the kernel.

The Eurasian nuthatch breeds across temperate Europe and Asia, from Ireland and Spain to Japan. It is a permanent resident in most of its range, but some southern birds move north in winter. This nuthatch nests in trees, using mud and grass to build a cup-shaped nest on a horizontal branch. The female lays six to 10 eggs which hatch after about 2 weeks.

Range

The Eurasian nuthatch is a small bird with a big personality. This sprightly little songbird is a common sight at bird feeders and nesting boxes in its native range, which extends across much of Europe and Asia.

Appearance

There are several subspecies of Eurasian nuthatch, but all have the same basic plumage pattern of blue-gray upper parts with a white belly and black cap. The nuthatch gets its name from its habit of wedging nuts and seeds into cracks in tree bark, then using its strong bill to hammer them open.

The Eurasian nuthatch is a member of the genus Sitta, which contains about two dozen species of nuthatches found throughout the world. The best-known North American species is the white-breasted nuthatch, which has similar plumage but is smaller and has a shorter bill.

These small birds are monomorphic, meaning that males and females look alike. However, juveniles have browner plumage than adults. Eurasian nuthatches have blue-grey upper parts, white underparts, and a black stripe running through their eyes.

Eurasian Nuthatch

Image Credit: Pixabay

Habitat

Eurasian nuthatches are found in woods across Europe, Asia, and North Africa. They prefer deciduous or mixed forests but can also be found in parkland and scrubby habitats.

Nuthatches are very vocal birds, and their calls include a distinctive ‘yank-yank’ sound. They are also known for their acrobatic abilities, as they often hang upside down while foraging for food.

Diet

Eurasian nuthatches eat mainly insects and spiders, which they find by clambering around trees and using their long bills to pry food from crevices. Nuthatches will also visit bird feeders to take advantage of an easy meal.

The Eurasian nuthatch is a small bird with a big personality. These acrobatic little birds are fun to watch as they scurry up and down trees in search of food. If you’re lucky enough to spot one of these birds in your garden, be sure to enjoy the show!

Eurasian Nuthatch

Image Credit: Pixabay

Breeding and Nesting

Eurasian nuthatches breed in forests and woodlands across Europe and Asia. They are non-migratory, spending their whole lives in their breeding territory. Nuthatches are hole-nesting birds, excavating their own nesting cavity or using an abandoned woodpecker nest. Eurasian nuthatches will often reuse the same nest site for many years.

Four to six eggs are laid per clutch, and incubation takes about 2 weeks. Both parents help to feed the young birds, which fledge from the nest after about 3 weeks.

Protection

The Eurasian nuthatch is a common bird with a large range, and as such, it is not considered to be at risk of extinction. However, like many other bird species, it has experienced some population decline in recent years due to habitat loss and fragmentation.

Eurasian nuthatches are protected under the EU Birds Directive, and efforts are being made to conserve and restore forests throughout their range.

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Final Thoughts

Eurasian nuthatches are fascinating creatures, and it’s easy to see why they’re so popular with birders. These little birds are full of personality, and their ability to move head-first down tree trunks is truly impressive. If you’re lucky enough to spot one of these birds in the wild, you’re sure to be charmed by its acrobatic antics.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

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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