Nuthatch (Sitta europaea)

Nuthatch Sitta europaea

A loud and repeated “Chwit” or rapid “chiriririri” can be the first sign of the elusive nuthatch. There are 32 species of Nuthatch worldwide but Sitta europaea is the only one found in Britain. It nests in tree holes during April and May and can be found in deciduous woodlands, parks and large gardens. The entrance of a nuthatch nest is often lined with mud to adjust the size of the hole to a suitable proportion. This enables them to utilise tree holes with larger openings and can only aid the search for a suitable site. A pair of nuthatches requires about one hectare of good quality habitat in order to raise a brood successfully. The birds seldom travel far from where they fledged. The name nuthatch probably comes from the behaviour of wedging nuts into small cracks in trees and then hacking away at them with their dagger like bill. They are very agile birds and the only British bird to easily hop down a tree as well as up.