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How Long Do Wild Nuthatches Live?

How Long Do Wild Nuthatches Live?

Nuthatches are extremely common in the US. They can often visit your property or live in the trees in your garden. When watching them chirping near your home, an obvious question can come to your mind. How long do wild nuthatches live?

This article will give every required detail about their average life expectancy. Let’s get started!

How long do wild nuthatches live?

Wild nuthatches live in arduous conditions. They meet with life-threatening dangers every day. So, they have a much smaller life expectancy than nuthatches raised in captivity. Typically, their average lifespan ranges between 2-8 years. 

However, their average life expectancy depends on the different species. So, let’s understand the average lifespan of nuthatches according to their breeds in the following section!

1. White-breasted nuthatch

Except for the cooler and drier regions of North America, the white-breasted nuthatch is found throughout most of the continent. It is primarily found at low elevations, in mixed or deciduous woodlands. These varieties have an average life expectancy of around two years when they live in the wild and survive on their own.

2. Red-breasted nuthatch

Red-breasted Nuthatches live in the American Rocky Mountains. They nest in western and southern central Montana, northern and eastern Wyoming, western Colorado, northern and eastern Utah, and near Lake Tahoe in Nevada. They also breed in western and southern central Montana.

These nuthatch varieties live longer than the white-breasted nuthatches. Typically, wild red-breasted nuthatches have a lifespan of around six years.

3. Brown-headed nuthatch

The brown-headed nuthatches do not migrate. Year-round, they can be found as far south as Florida, as far west as Arkansas, and as far north as the Delmarva Peninsula. The Bahamas have a population as well. Pine specialists that reside in established forests are brown-headed nuthatches. 

Wild brown-headed nuthatches live much longer than other nuthatch varieties. Their average lifespan is approximately eight years.

4. Pygmy nuthatch

As the name suggests, pygmy nuthatches are the smallest in the family. So, they have the shortest life expectancy among other varieties. The Pygmy Nuthatch is the tiniest species of nuthatch found in North America. From southern British Columbia to Arizona and down into Mexico, the Rocky Mountains are home to this tiny forest bird. You can expect wild pygmy nuthatches to live around 1.7 years in the wild.

Why do wild nuthatches live shorter than domestic nuthatches?

As we already discussed, wild nuthatches face immense dangers in the wild. They are small creatures and encounter strong, negative forces every day. Sometimes, the tiny nuthatches cannot survive the factors affecting their lives and might succumb to death. Thus, they have a much shorter lifespan than captivated birds.

Here are some factors which can affect the lives of wild nuthatches:

Presence of predators like cats

Nuthatches are easy prey for predators like cats. Every year, many wild nuthatches succumb to cat bites. So, in areas where predators are more, wild nuthatches will have a much shorter life expectancy.


Windows are life-threatening objects for many birds, including nuthatches. They can see reflections of trees on your glass windows and strike them to approach the trees. However, they can get fatal injuries in such events.

Extreme winter

Winters are harsh for wild animals and birds, including nuthatches. Although the tiny birds have adapted to survive the cold season, the weaker ones can fall prey to the harsh weather. It’s another prominent reason why wild nuthatches have a shorter life expectancy.


Many times, wild nuthatches might contract fatal diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, and even salmonella. If left untreated, these diseases may have fatal consequences for wild nuthatches. So, diseases are natural reasons why wild nuthatches have a shorter lifespan.

Presence of trees and food sources

A lack of proper roosting and nesting places on trees for the nuthatches can compel them to live in challenging situations. In such scenarios, they can encounter significant dangers like predators, harsh weather, or scarcity of food. Thus, wild nuthatches can meet fatal consequences in these situations.

After knowing all about the lifespan of nuthatch birds, you might wonder about the life expectancy of domestic nuthatches. The upcoming section will solve your concern!

What is the lifespan of domestic nuthatch birds?

Domestic nuthatches don’t have to hunt for food and survive arduous conditions like the wild individuals. We can provide them with nutritional food and keep them away from predators. Also, the domesticated birds do not face severe weather conditions like wild individuals. All these factors affect their average lifespan. So, they have a much higher life expectancy when raised in captivity. Some domestic nuthatches can live up to 12 years when raised properly and treated well. 

Here is a list of the average lifespan of different domesticated nuthatch species. Have a look!

1. Red-breasted nuthatches

Reportedly, red-breasted nuthatches have lived up to nine years when raised in captivity. Usually, the wild individuals of this species have a high life expectancy of approximately eight years. However, you can expect them to live a couple of years more when raised in captivity.

2. White-breasted nuthatches

Undoubtedly, the white-breasted nuthatches are the most common breeds in the US. These tiny birds do not have a high life expectancy in the wild. However, their lifespan can significantly increase when raised in captivity and under excellent conditions. Do you know? Domestic white-breasted nuthatches can live up to twelve years.

3. Brown-headed nuthatches

Like other nuthatch varieties, brown-headed nuthatches have a longer life span when they are raised in captivity. Many reports say that brown-headed nuthatches can live up to 9-10 years when raised in proper conditions domestically.

4. Pygmy nuthatches

Usually, the wild pygmy nuthatches have the shortest lifespan. Their average life expectancy is not more than two years. However, you can help them live longer up to eight years, by raising them in captivity and providing them with proper living conditions.


Wild nuthatches live a challenging life every day. It’s not uncommon for them to meet fatal hurdles and dangers. So, you know their average life expectancy according to the various species. Also, you saw how domesticated birds stay away from threats and live longer.