Pygmy Nuthatch

photo by Phil Swanson

Sitta pygmaea
L 4 1/4″ (11 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

A monotonous, rapid “peep, peep-peep.”

Description: Sexes similar. Small. Blue-gray above, with gray-brown cap; indistinct black eye-line; faint white smudge at base of nape; and creamy white below.

pygmy nuthatch
Habitat: Generally associated with ponderosa pine forests, especially those that are open and park-like. During winter, vagrants may appear in cottonwood forests along rivers, often in small flocks.

Where in Nebraska: Regular, but local, permanent resident of the Pine Ridge area. Vagrants appear elsewhere in the state during winter, east to Lancaster County.

Field Notes: Pygmy Nuthatches nest in the cavity of a dead pine or stump approximately 15 feet from the ground.

Fun Facts: Offspring from the previous year’s nest often help Pygmy Nuthatchs with the new year’s nestlings.

Pygmy Nuthatch - photo by Phil Swanson Pygmy Nuthatch - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)