White-breasted nuthatches form monogamous pairs that remain together year-round from the time of courtship and establishment of a territory until one of the pair dies or disappears. Courtship in white-breasted nuthatches is composed of a breeding song sung by the males, distinctive call notes and courtship feeding.
Mating System: monogamous
The dates of nest-building, egg-laying, hatching, and young leaving the nest vary from region to region. Most breeding is done between early May and early June, but some populations show a range starting as early as April and even possibly going into July. White-breasted nuthatches raise one brood per year. Female white-breasted nuthatches build their nests alone. White-breasted nuthatches nest in cavities from 3 to 18 meters from the ground. The female lays 3 to 10 (typically 6 to 8) pinkish-white eggs. She then incubates the eggs for 12 to 14 days, and the male brings food to her in the nest cavity. The nestlings stay in the nest for 26 days before fledging. After fledging, the chicks remain with their parents for several weeks before they disperse. Both parents feed and protect them during this time. These young nuthatches leave their parent's territory to establish their own territories, usually in pairs, and breed the next spring.
Breeding interval: White-breasted nuthatches breed once per year.
Breeding season: The dates of nest-building, egg-laying, hatching, and young leaving the nest vary from region to region. Most breeding is done between early May and early June.
Range eggs per season: 3 to 10.
Average eggs per season: 7.
Range time to hatching: 12 to 14 days.
Average fledging age: 26 days.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 1 to 1 years.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 1 to 1 years.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
Average eggs per season: 8.
The female builds the nest and incubates the eggs. Once the eggs have hatched, both parents feed and protect the young. Males tend to do most of the parental care in the first few days after hatching, but as the young become more independent, both parents share the job equally.
Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-hatching/birth (Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female)