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Pygmy Nuthatch Sitta pygmaea


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Pygmy Nuthatch
credit: Len Blumin/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Sittidae, Nuthatches view all from this family

Description ADULT Has bluegray back and wing coverts, with darker flight feathers. Back color grades to brown on cap, but note pale nape patch and dark stripe through eye. Face and throat is whitish, grading to buff yellow on rest of underparts, apart from grayish wash on flanks. Legs and bill are dark. JUVENILE Similar to adult, but less colorful. Subspecies variation exists in contrast between cap and eyestripe, and intensity of buffy wash on underparts.

Dimensions Length: 3 3/4-4 1/2" (10-11 cm)

Habitat Common resident of pine forests.

Observation Tips Easiest to detect by call.

Range California, Western Canada, Northwest, Plains, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Texas

Voice Utters various sharp, rapid calls including kip-kipkip. Song comprises disyllabic phrases, similar in tone to call.

Discussion Charming little nuthatch with an extremely compact body, and proportionately large head, long bill, and short tail. Cooperative behavior observed when breeding and social at other times too, foraging in extremely vocal flocks outside breeding season. Sexes are similar.