Nine to ten inches long. Crimson-red head,
neck and upper breast. White lower breast and under side. Black back, upper wings, and
tail. Broad white band on lower wings. Colors distinctly separate and contrasting.
Inhabits forests, groves, and small stands, sometimes solitary trees in the
open prairies and farms throughout most of the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains and
Nests in self-excavated cavities in partially decayed trees or
telephone poles, in open sheds and bird houses.
Lays four to six, more or less, white eggs on soft wood chips at the bottom of its
cavity. Eggs hatch after about two weeks of incubation and young leave the nest in another
Searches trees for insects. Perches on fence posts in wait for passing insects to eat,
which it will catch in flight like flycatchers.
Stores acorns, beech nuts and grasshoppers wedged in bark crevices, tree
cavities, fence post cracks, in barns, between wood roof shingles and various other nooks
and crannies. Also feeds on berries.