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(nuthatches), a family of birds of the order Pass-eriformes. The body length is 9.5 to 19 cm. The plumage above is blue-gray or, less frequently, light blue; below it is white, reddish, or chestnut. The bill is straight or, sometimes, slightly turned up. The legs are short, the toes relatively long, and the talons strong and laterally compressed.
There are 21 species, distributed in Europe, Northwest Africa, Asia (including the Philippine and Sunda islands), and North America. Nuthatches include permanent residents and migratory species. They are arboreal birds; very few live on rocks. They walk up and down tree trunks and over rocks with short hops, moving upside down just as easily as right side up. Their nests, which are in rock crevices or tree hollows, are covered with a heavy conical clay roof that has an opening. There are four to ten speckled white eggs in a clutch. Nuthatches eat seeds, nuts, fruit pits, and insects. The USSR has five species. The species most commonly found in the forest zone and in the forests of the Caucasus is Sitta europaea.