©Neil Aldridge


Scientific name: Sitta europaea
The nuthatch is a tit-sized, grey and rust-coloured bird that can be easily spotted climbing headfirst down tree trunks in woodlands and parks.

Species information


Length: 14cm
Wingspan: 24cm
Weight: 24g
Average lifespan: 2 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2021).

When to see

January to December


A tit-sized bird, the nuthatch has a short tail, large head and a woodpecker-like bill. Nuthatches climb up and down tree trunks in mature woods and parklands, feeding on insects, seeds and nuts, such as hazelnuts and beechmast. They nest in holes in trees or abandoned nests, but are happy to use nestboxes, too. They start breeding in April and can produce two clutches of up to 13 eggs each.

How to identify

The nuthatch is grey above, with a long, black eyestripe, white cheeks and throat, and a rust-coloured belly.


Widespread in England, Wales and southern Scotland.

Did you know?

Nuthatches are the only UK bird that can climb headfirst down tree trunks, holding on with their powerful toes. The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support.


Nuthatch by Tom Hibbert