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Reddish Vale Country Park

Nuthatch

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Weight, 20-25g,

Wingspan, 22.5-27cm,

Lifespan, 11yrs,

Diet, insects, hazel nuts, acorns, beechmast, and other nuts and seeds,

UK breeding, 130,000 territories.

 

The nuthatch is a plump bird about the size of a great tit and resembles a small woodpecker.

 

Nuthatches are a genus, Sitta, of small passerine birds belonging to the family Sittidae. Characterised by large heads, short tails, and powerful bills and feet, nuthatches advertise their territory using loud, simple songs.

 

The nuthatches plumage is blue grey above and whitish below, with chestnut on its sides and under the tail. They have a black stripe on their head, a long pointed bill, and short legs.

 

They breed in central and southern England and Wales, and is resident, with birds seldom travelling far from the woods where they hatch.

 

Nuthatches feed mainly on insects, hazel nuts, acorns, beechmast and other nuts and seeds. They will come to bird feeding tables and can be very aggressive, driving away other species.

 

Nuthatches nest in holes or crevices, lined with bark or grass. The size of the hole may be reduced by building a neat mud wall. Five to eight eggs are laid, white speckled with red.

 

Nuthatches are omnivorous, eating mostly insects, nuts and seeds. They forage for insects hidden in or under bark by climbing along tree trunks and branches, sometimes upside-down. They forage within their territories when breeding, but may join mixed feeding flocks at other times.

 

Nuthatches appear to store food, especially seeds, in tree crevices, in the ground, under small stones, or behind bark flakes, and these caches are remembered for as long as 30 days. Nuthatches have been found to avoid using their caches during benign conditions in order to save them for harsher times.

 

The old name for the nuthatch is 'nut-hack' and comes from its habit of wedging a nut in the crevice of a tree, and then hacking at it with its strong bill.

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Nuthatch