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Brown-headed Nuthatch - BirdForum Opus

Photo by KC Foggin
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA, September 2006
Sitta pusilla


10-11 cm

  • White underparts
  • Brown cap
  • Narrow black eyeline
  • Buff white cheeks, chin, and belly
  • Blue-grey back, nape, wings, and rump
  • White spot on nape of neck
  • Sharp black bill

Similar Species

Similar to Pygmy Nuthatch, which would be very tricky to distinguish, except that the two species never meet, being very sedentary and separated by a roughly 750 km gap in Texas where neither occurs.


Southeastern United States. Found from south-eastern Oklahoma and eastern Texas through central Arkansas, Tennessee, and the Gulf Coast states, to southern Maryland and Delaware, Virginia, then south to southern Florida.


This is a monotypic species[1].

Closely related to Pygmy Nuthatch, with which it has sometimes been considered conspecific in the past[2].
Bahama nuthatch was recently split from this species.


Mixed forests, primarily pine, and gardens.



The diet includes cockroaches, beetles, and spiders in summer, and pine seeds in winter. Often visits garden feeders.


They nest in a tree cavity; the eggs are incubated for 14 days. The young fledge 18 days later.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2008. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 13: Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553453
  3. Audubon
  4. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

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