Upper parts bluish ash; breast and belly reddish yellow; a black streak across the eye and ear-coverts.
S. Europsea, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. I. p. 407. Id. torn. III. p. 285. Nuthatch, Mont. Orn. Diet. Selb. Illust. vol. I. p. 385. pl. 39. f. 1. Bew. Brit. Birds, vol. I. p. 142.
Entire length six inches ten lines.
Crown of the head, and all the upper parts of the plumage bluish ash: a black streak from the corner of the bill across each eye, and extending down the sides of the neck as far as the shoulder; cheeks and throat white; breast and belly dull orange-red; sides and thighs ferruginous chestnut; under tail-coverts white, edged with ferruginous: tail consisting of twelve short flexible feathers; the two middle ones gray; the four outer ones black, with a white spot near the extremity, the tips themselves gray: bill blackish above, white at the base of the lower mandible: irides hazel: feet yellowish gray. (Egg). White, spotted and speckled with pale red: long. diam. nine lines; trans, diam. seven lines.
Common in wooded districts in many parts of the country, but not in all. Rare in some of the northern and western counties. Remains with us the whole year. Climbs trees with great facility, and equally well in all directions. Feeds principally on nuts, which it breaks with its bill after having firmly fixed them in the crevices of old trees; occasionally on insects. Nest placed in the holes of trees, and formed of dead leaves. Eggs six or seven in number.