The Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea) is a small passerine found throughout temperate Europe and Asia. It is spread from southern Scandinavia to Middle and South Europe and through Russia and Sibiria to the Pacific coast - further south to China, southeast Asia and India. It belongs to the nuthatch family Sittidae. This bird is the most common and most widespread nuthatch, and is often referred to just as the Nuthatch. It is a resident bird of deciduous woods and parkland, with some old trees for nesting. It feeds on insects, seeds and nuts. Its old name “nut-hack” derives from its habit of wedging a nut in a crevice in a tree, and then hacking at it with its strong bill. Nests are in holes or crevices, lined with bark or grass. The size of the hole’s entrance may be reduced by the building of a neat mud wall. Five to eight eggs are laid, white speckled with red.
The Eurasian Nuthatch is 14 cm long and has the typical nuthatch big head, short tail and powerful bill and feet. It is blue-grey above, with a black eyestripe. Asian and north European birds (S. e. asiatica and S. e. europaea respectively) are white below except for chestnut in the vent area. The western European S. e. caesia has generally reddish underparts. Young birds are "washed out" versions of the adults.
This is a noisy bird, often located by its repeated tui-tui-tui call. It has the ability, like other nuthatches, to climb down trees, unlike species such as woodpeckers which can only go upwards. It will come to bird feeding tables and is then very aggressive, driving other species away.
|old oak in park|
The Nuthatch (Danish: Spætmejse) (Sitta europaea), ab.15 cm, is a common breeding bird in Denmark in old deciduous forests and parks. The Danish name Spætmejse indicates that it is a Tit = Mejse, but it belongs to its own family, Sittidae. In Denmark are two under-species : east of Storebælt is a light- bellied race (Sitta europaea) and upon the island Funen and in Jutland a dark-bellied race (Sitta. e caesia) with rusty red breast and belly. The nuthatch is the only Danish bird which climbs both up and down the trees.
The voice of the nuthatch is strong and varied. It breeds in holes in old trees or takes over holes from the woodpecker. Old trees with holes are rare in most forests, so there is a great competition among the birds, which nest in old trees, like among tits, starlings and flyecatchers. In order to avoid the competition from larger birds the nuthatch makes the hole smaller by pasting it with clay, until the size fits its own nest. The nuthatch feeds especially on insects, spiders and other little animals - in autumn and winter it feeds on seeds, nuts, fruits from beech and oak. The nuthatch put the nuts in cracks in the bark and hammers hole in it with its strong beak. In this connection it uses all its bodyweight and the advantage of being able to move with its head downwards.
The Nuthatch is in Denmark especially found in East Jutland and on the Isles where there are many suitable areas with deciduous forests. It is especially numerous in Jægersborg Dyrehave and Gribskov at Zealand and in Rold Skov, Fussingø Skov and Tofte Skov in East Jutland. The nuthatch is common, except in parts of West and North Jutland where there are no old deciduous forests with suitable holes for nests.
Fugle og Natur, Dansk Ornitologisk Forening; Gyldendal, Den Store Danske; wikipedia;
photo Forsthaven and Moesgård 2012: grethe bachmann