White-breasted Nuthatch on Feeder
The white-breasted nuthatch is a small songbird of the nuthatch family common across much of temperate North America. It is stocky, with a large head, short tail, powerful bill, and strong feet. It has a black cap, white face, chest, and flanks, blue-gray upperparts, and a chestnut lower belly. Its nine subspecies differ mainly in the color of the body plumage.
Like other nuthatches, the white-breasted nuthatch forages for insects on trunks and branches and is able to move head-first down trees. Seeds form a substantial part of its winter diet, as do acorns and hickory nuts stored in the fall. Old-growth woodland is preferred for breeding. The nest is in a hole in a tree, and the breeding pair may smear insects around the entrance as a deterrent to squirrels. Predators include hawks, owls, and snakes. Forest clearance may lead to local habitat loss, but there are no major conservation concerns over most of its range.