Mniotilta varia Linnaeus, 1766, Hispaniola.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Black-and-white nuthatch; French: Paruline noir et blanc; German: Kletterwaldsдnger; Spanish: Reinita Trepadora.
4.5–5.5 in (11.4–14 cm). The only bird in its genus, it is an abundantly striped black-and-white bird. Males have a black bib; females do not. The rear toe and claw are unusually long, and ideal for its creeper-like habits.
Breeds from the southern and central United States and far north into western Canada. Winters from the far southern Gulf states to the northern reaches of South America.
Coniferous or deciduous forests, particularly common in more northern areas.
It has a soft, often-repeated “wee-ee” song. It pecks its food out of clefts in the bark of trees, which it searches carefully, usually by working over one tree trunk after another from near the ground by creeping upwards, much as nuthatches (Sitta spp.) do.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
It is one of the earliest wood warblers to return to North America in the spring. It builds its nest of strips of bark, moss, grass, and other materials, behind a piece of bark on the lower part of a tree trunk or more frequently on the ground beneath a tree where it covers it partly with leaves. Produces four to five speckled eggs, which hatch in a week and a half.
Not threatened. Widespread and common in northern North America.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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