Definition of nuthatch in US English:



  • A small songbird with a long strong bill, a stiffened square-cut tail, and the habit of climbing down tree trunks head first.

    Family Sittidae and genus Sitta: numerous species, including the North American white-breasted nuthatch (S. carolinensis), with a gray back, black cap (male), black eyes, and white face and underparts

    • ‘In my yard, jays and grosbeaks entertain me on one side of the house (large tube feeders with seed trays) and goldfinches, chickadees, and nuthatches feed in peace on the other (small tubes with no seed tray).’
    • ‘Although cardinals, chickadees, titmice, blue jays, nuthatches and finches will eat the large striped sunflower seed, there is much less waste and a bit more nutrition in the small, oil type.’
    • ‘Plenty of birds of winter still mob Ann's bird feeders; chickadees, juncos, sparrows, woodpeckers, nuthatches, goldfinch, and doves are in no short supply.’
    • ‘In Massachusetts winter residents include chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, titmice, cardinals, and mockingbirds.’
    • ‘They have disappeared from our view, as have bullfinches and tree sparrows, nuthatches and marsh tits.’


Middle English: from nut + obsolete hatch (related to hack), from the bird's habit of hacking with the beak at nuts wedged in a crevice.