• Y.A.W.S Admin

Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) The Acrobat of the Woodland

Next time you're in a woodland keep an eye out for this special little bird.

In the UK we have one Nuthatch Species, that you may see in any of our forests and woodlands. To view, the Nuthatch stand in any woodland and listen for a repetitive ’Twee Twee ’ sound and look for activity in that direction.

Conservation status Green. Studies have shown that large gardens with established oaks are prime habitat for the Nuthatch.

About the Nuthatch

The Nuthatch is a small sparrow-sized bird with its grey, and peach/orange coloured plump body and long slender beak. It also sports its black eye stripe giving it a burglar appearance. Nuthatches are highly territorial and if you are lucky enough to have one visit your garden they will readily stand their ground.

The nuthatch has never been recorded in Ireland, and is only reached the south of Scotland although its range seems to increasing.

UK breeding:220,000 territories

What they eat : Acorns, Hazel nuts, beech masts, seed and insects

Life-cycle of the Nuthatch

Nuthatches start egg laying early April to mid June, and after 16 to 18 days the eggs hatch and the adults will raise between six to eight chicks and sometimes will raise two broods within the breeding season.

The young will fledge at 24-25 days and disperse to find a new territory, adult birds don't move far from their territory and will aggressively defend there patch.


It is an agile little bird, often mistaken for a woodpecker as it moves up a tree trunk in a woodpecker way. It is so agile it can hang completely upside down on branches and can descend a tree head first. It can move in all directions that is unique to this bird.


The Birds resident in the UK have a unique behaviour of plastering its best site entrance hole, they nest in the holes made by woodpeckers or naturally formed holes in mature trees, and if the hole is too big, it will use wet mud to plaster and adapt the gap to its size, and it also plasters the interior of its nest.


It's named from the Middle English for ’nuthaker.’ that comes from its clever survival skill of using crevices in trees to wedge its nuts, so it can then crack them open.

©2017 by Yorkshire Animal Welfare Society.