4 1/2-4 3/4" (11-12 cm). Slate- to blue-gray back, wings, and tail; black and white striped head; rusty below.
Similar Species- White-breasted and Pygmy nuthatches.
A high, nasal yaank yaank yaank; referred to as sounding like a tin horn.
Breeds from southern Alaska, east across portions of Canada, and south to southern California, southern New Mexico, western South Dakota, Minnesota, northern Ohio, southern Appalachians, and in isolated areas farther south. Winters throughout most of breeding range and irregularly in Gulf Coast.
Found in coniferous and mixed forests and aspen woodlands. During migration and in winter, also found in deciduous forests, open woodlands, parks, scrub, and riparian woodlands. Preliminary results of an Idaho-Montana study indicated these birds favored rotation-aged Douglas fir stands over old-growth stands.
Eats mainly conifer seeds and insects.
Nests in excavated cavity in standing snag or hollow tree. Forages over trunks and branches.
|Status:||Protected nongame species|
Hejl, S.J. and R.E. Woods. 1990. Bird assemblages in old-growth and rotation-aged Douglas-fir/Ponderosa pine stands in the northern Rocky Mountains: a preliminary assessment. Pp. 93-100 in D.M. Baumgartner and J.E. Lotan, eds., Proceedings of a Symposium on Interior Douglas-fir: the species and its management. Feb. 27, 1990, Spokane WA.