White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) - Wiki
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[Photo] White-breasted Nuthatch -- Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada -- 2005 December. This image is not upside-down.
The White-breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis, is a small songbird.
The adult birds are about 155 millimeters (6 inches) long. In the adult male the cap and a band on the upper mantle are black. The rest of the upper parts are a pale blue-gray. The wing coverts and flight feathers are blackish with paler fringes. The tertials are often marked with pale gray and black. There is a slight wing bar in the greater coverts. The face and the underparts are white. The White-breasted Nuthatch is the only North American nuthatch in which the white of the face completely surrounds the eye. The outer tail feathers are black with broad diagonal white bands across the outer three feathers. They have short legs with long claws, short wings and a short tail.
Their breeding habitat is deciduous and mixed forests across North America. They nest in a tree cavity, either natural or excavated by a woodpecker.
These birds are permanent residents, sometimes moving south in winter.
They forage on the trunk and large branches of trees, and are well-known for descending head first, a behavior unique to the white-breasted nuthatch. Their principal diet consists of insects and a few varieties of seeds. They often travel with small mixed flocks in winter.
The call is a nasal yeah-yeah-yeah in the east or a fast yididit in the west.
Interesting White-breasted Nuthatch Facts
Aside from being one of a few birds who can creep down a tree trunk head first to forage for food or hang upside down, swinging from tiny branches, the White-breasted Nuthatch is also known to exhibit a weird behavior known as "bill sweeping" in which it picks up a piece of fur, plant or insect with its bill and uses this to sweep around its nests cavity. Scientists believe it does this to remove its own scent around the nest and prevent detection by predators.
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