S. p. caniceps
|Range in green|
The Brown-headed Nuthatch (Sitta pusilla) is a small songbird found in pine forests throughout the Southeastern United States. An endangered population occurs in the pineyards of Grand Bahama; some authorities consider it to represent a separate species, S. insularis. The bird, like other nuthatches, possesses a sharp black nail-like beak, which it uses to pound open seeds. It is a frequent visitor to feeding stations and is highly fond of sunflower seeds and suet cakes.
Bold and inquisitive, this bird is readily approachable by humans. The bird is frequently observed using a small chip of bark held in its beak as a tool to dig for insects.
Despite the other species' common name, the brown-headed nuthatch is about the same size as the Pygmy Nuthatch and the two species are the world's smallest nuthatches. In the brown-headed nuthatch, the total length is 9–11 cm (3.5–4.3 in), wingspan is 16–18 cm (6.3–7.1 in) and body mass is 10–12 g (0.35–0.42 oz). This species sports a brown cap with narrow black eyeline and buff white cheeks, chin, and belly. Its wings are bluish-gray in color. A small white spot is found at the nape of the neck. The bird's call is a sharp whee-hyah sounding very similar to a "rubber duck" toy and particularly is loud for a bird its size. They also make softer "pit pit pit" calls while in flight as well as other squeaking noises. If heard or seen well, this species is virtually unmistakable in the wild, since it overlaps only with the very different marked and larger Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Sitta pusilla". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- Hayes, William K.; Robert X. Barry; Zeko McKenzie; Patricia Barry (2004). "Grand Bahama’s Brown-headed Nuthatch: A Distinct and Endangered Species". Bahamas Journal of Science 12 (1): 21–28.