About 13 centimetres long, the nuthatch is blue-grey above and paler below, with a black eye-stripe and a rusty-buff breast and belly. It has a powerful beak and feet.
The non-migratory nuthatch can be found in woods, large parks and gardens throughout Europe.
Quick and active, the nuthatch climbs jerkily on branches and trunks and, unlike a woodpecker, is able to go downwards too, head first. It builds its nest in a tree hollow, plastering the entrance with mud if it is too big. It feeds on insects, seeds and nuts. It takes its name from the way it wedges a nut in a tree crevice and hacks at it with its strong beak.