Any of about 25 species (genus Sitta, family Sittidae) of songbirds that are 4–7.5 in. (9.5–19 cm) long and have a short, square tail, short neck, and thin, pointed bill. Most are forest dwellers; some live in rocky areas. Nuthatches search tree trunks and rocks for insects, often descending headfirst. They also eat seeds, which they may store for winter. The nest is a grass- or hair-lined cavity. Nuthatches are most common from Eurasia to Japan and southward; four species occur in North America. Most are bluish above and white or reddish below; there may be a black eye stripe or a cap.
European nuthatch (Sitta europaea)—Bruce Coleman Ltd.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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