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Bird Guide

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White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch


Common to Minnesota, the precocious White-breasted Nuthatch is a natural entertainer, darting quickly and accurately on and off feeders, and hanging headfirst while it feeds. Perhaps mistaken for a woodpecker by their tree-climbing habits, they are smaller and lack the brace of a woodpecker's tail. Its black cap may be mistaken for a chickadee, but beady black eyes surrounded by white and a longer, narrow beak assist in identification. They are slightly larger (5-3/4 in) and more common than its close relative, the Red-breasted Nuthatch (4-1/2 in).


White-breasted Nuthatches are found throughout the state of Minnesota, but are less common in the northeast of the state. It lives in hardwood forests, rural woods, and urban/suburban areas where there is adequate cover. Listen for their beep-beep calls high in the trees when walking in state forests.


White-breasted Nuthatches dine on bark insects, seeds and nuts and can be enticed to come to feeders with suet, sunflower seed, peanut pickouts, and even golden safflower.