Friday, April 7, 2017

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatches are smaller than White-breasted Nuthatches. The Red-breasted has a different call and has different habitat preferences, preferring conifers over deciduous woodlands. They range across Canada and the northernmost United States, with more southern populations in the Appalachian and Rocky mountains. The planting of conifer forests recently caused the species’ breeding range to expand to the south. Unlike sedentary the White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-breasteds irrupt southward, even to the Gulf Coast and northern Mexico, during years with poor conifer seeds. 

A few Red-breasted Nuthatches have visited our feeders this winter. I banded this male on 1 April 2017. I did not remember that this species’ bill is bicolored. In the second image, on the base of the lower mandible, notice the lovely pale horn hue.

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