Readers’ wildlife photos

August 14, 2022 • 8:00 am

It’s Sunday, and regulars here will know that today’s the day for themed bird photos from another regular, biologist John Avise. John’s notes and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge his photos by clicking on them.

Nuthatches

Nuthatches (family Sittidae) are one of my favorite avian groups because the species are very easy to identify and have interesting behaviors. With equal facility, these cute little birds spiral either right-side-up (head-up) or upside-down (head-down) tree trunks and major tree limbs where they use their slightly upturned, chisel-like bills to probe for insects, seeds, or other food items hidden under the bark.  All nuthatches are cavity nesters.  North America is home to four nuthatch species (all of which I’ve photographed), but more than a dozen other species (one of which is shown below) inhabit various parts of Europe, Asia, or Africa.

Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis):

Another Red-breasted Nuthatch:

Brown-headed Nuthatch (Sitta pusilla):

Pygmy Nuthatch (Sitta pygmaea):

Another Pygmy Nuthatch (this species is the western U.S. counterpart of the eastern U.S. Brown-headed Nuthatch):

White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis):

Another White-breasted Nuthatch:

White-breasted Nuthatch flying:

Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea):

Another Eurasian Nuthatch:

4 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Great photos, as always, from John Avise! I look forward to the Sunday photos. Readers from the “land down under” may think these birds look familiar, for good reason. Australia and New Guinea are home to a genus of birds – Daphoenositta, commonly known as Sittellas – that were considered to be nuthatches by some authorities until the 1960s. One of my Ohio U. profs, Jon Ahlquist, helped dispel this notion along with his research partner Charles Sibley, through their DNA-DNA hybridization studies. Sittellas and Nuthatches were one of my go-to examples of convergent evolution when I taught Ornithology.

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