Sitta pygmaea
(Pygmy Nuthatch)

Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Sittidae
Family Description: Nuthatches

Physical Description:
3 3/4-4 1/2" (10-11 cm). Slate gray above with darker eye-line. Cream below with reddish-orange tinted breast and flanksClick word for definition.

Similar Species- Red-breasted Nuthatch

A monotonous peeping: pwee-di

Resident from southern interior British Columbia, northern Idaho, western Montana, central Wyoming, and southwestern South Dakota, south to northern Baja California, southern Nevada, central and southeastern Arizona, central New Mexico, extreme western Texas, extreme western Oklahoma, and south in mountains to central Mexico. An uncommon bird in Idaho.

Found at elevations up to 3000 m, in pine forests and woodlands (especially in ponderosa pine, less frequently in pinyon/juniper).

Feeds on insects such as wasps, ants, beetles, moths, and grasshoppers, but may also eat spiders and pine seeds.

Nests in natural or excavated cavity in tree or standing snag; may nest in post. Social throughout year. Often found in association with Yellow-rumped Warbler, Plain Titmouse, or Mountain Chickadee. Travels in small family groups after nesting season. Family groups form larger, loose flocks in fall and winter. Winter groups average 5-15 individuals, forage as a flockClick word for definition, and roostClick word for definition communally within group territory. Individuals forage on outer branches and twigs as well as along tree trunks.

Female incubatesClick word for definition 4-9 eggs (usually 6-8), for 15.5-16 days. Nestlings are altricial. Young leave nest at 22 days. Cooperative breeding has been documented in California and Arizona; breeding units consisted of 2-5 birds. Helpers (mostly yearlingsClick word for definition, and offspring or siblings of the birds they aided) were found at aoub 30% of all nests in northern Arizona; nests with helpers were sometimes more productive than those without helpers.

Element Code: ABPAZ01030
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S2
National Rank: N5

Important State References:
No references are available at this time.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.