Skip to main content

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch. Photo by Glen Gebhart/RPS 2015
Glen Gebhart/RPS 2015



A small bird, slightly larger than a sparrow, with grayish-blue wings, back and tail. The face, throat, chest and belly are completely white. There is a black (in males) or dark gray (in females) crown across the top of the head. White-breasted nuthatches are often confused with the red-breasted nuthatch, which has rusty (breast, belly and sides) and a black line across the face and through the eye.


5.1-5.5 inches in length. Wingspan of 7.9-10.6 inches.


These birds are fairly common in mature oak and oak/pine forests. They can be found in residential neighborhoods with mature trees. White-breasted nuthatches occur year-round in the eastern two-thirds of Oklahoma. During the winter they can be found in western Oklahoma and the panhandle.

Life Cycle

At feeders white-breasted nuthatches eat black-oil sunflower seeds, peanuts, suet, and miracle meal. Away from feeders they eat insects, acorns and seeds.

How To Observe

Nuthatches are usually seen alone or in pairs foraging along the trunks and branches of trees like a small woodpecker. They have the unique ability to move headfirst down tree trunks, and often search trees from top down to the bottom. During the winter, they often join mixed-species flocks with Carolina chickadees, tufted titmice and kinglets. They are most likely to use hanging or pole-mounted feeders that are placed near mature trees.

Explore more Oklahoma Birds

Common grackle; Glenn Euloth/Flickr
Photo by: Glenn Euloth/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Harris's Sparrow.  Photo by Stephen Ofsthun
Photo by: Stephen Ofsthun
American White Pelican.  Photo by Stephen Ofsthun
Photo by: Stephen Ofsthun