White-breasted nuthatches are monogamous (one male mates with one female). They form breeding pairs that that stay together year-round for years until one of the pair dies or disappears. Males sing a breeding song and do courtship feeding to try to attract a mate.
Mating System: monogamous
Most white-breasted nuthatches breed between early May and early June, but some populations start as early as April and end as late as July. White-breasted nuthatches raise one brood per year. The female white-breasted nuthatches build their nests alone. The nests are built in cavities 3 to 18 meters above the ground. The female usually lays 6 to 8 pinkish-white eggs. She then incubates the eggs for 12 to 14 days, and the male brings food to her. After hatching, the nestlings stay in the nest for 26 days. After fledging, the chicks remain near their parents for several weeks. Both parents feed and protect them during this time. These young nuthatches then leave their parent's territory to establish their own territories. They are able to 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)
- Pravosudov, V., T. Grubb. 1993. White-breasted nuthatch (Sitta_carolinensis). Pp. 1-16 in A Poole, F Gill, eds. The Birds of North America, Vol. 54. Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists' Union.
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