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Brown-headed Nuthatch Sitta pusilla


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Brown-headed Nuthatch
credit: Ken Thomas

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Sittidae, Nuthatches view all from this family

Description ADULT Has blue-gray back and wings with subtly paler fringes to edges of inner flight feathers. Tail is short and blue-gray. Cap is brown and nape is mostly brown, but with a prominent whitish spot at rear. Cheeks and throat are white, and underparts are pale overall, but with a faint buff wash to breast and undertail coverts, and gray wash to flanks. JUVENILE Similar to adult, but paler overall and with buff wash to upperpart feathers.

Dimensions Length: 4-5" (10-13 cm)

Habitat Locally fairly common resident of pine forests in southeastern U.S. Population is declining overall, in part due to inappropriate land management, for example, suppression of natural fires.

Observation Tips Fairly easy to see in suitable pine forests within range.

Range Plains, Mid-Atlantic, Texas, Southeast, Florida

Voice Call is distinctive and almost humorous, being reminiscent of a child's squeaky toy.

Discussion Southeastern pine forest specialty. Like other nuthatches, often climbs head-first down tree trunks. Feeds acrobatically, often on slender, outermost branches. Nests in cavities excavated in dead trees. Joins roving mixed-species flocks outside breeding seasons. Sexes are similar.