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Eurasian Nuthatch

From Opus

Subspecies caesiaPhoto © by Nigel BlakeEngland, UK, 24 October 2004
Subspecies caesia
Photo © by Nigel Blake
England, UK, 24 October 2004

Alternative name: Wood Nuthatch

Sitta europaea

Includes: Siberian Nuthatch


[edit] Identification

12–17 cm (4¾-6¾ in)

  • Blue grey upperparts
  • Black eyestripe
  • White below
  • Chestnut vent
  • Short tail

[edit] Distribution

Europe and Asia.
Fairly common to locally common in its range.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

Subspecies caesia juvenilePhoto © by Rod HolbrookGorsley, Herefordshire, England, 18 July 2012
Subspecies caesia juvenile
Photo © by Rod Holbrook
Gorsley, Herefordshire, England, 18 July 2012

There are 23 subspecies[1]:

  • S. e. caesia: underparts rusty-red, vent dark reddish-brown
  • Britain to Denmark, Carpathian Mountains, Pyrénées and Balkan Peninsula
  • S. e. europaea: Scandinavia and Russia to Volga and Vyatka basins and Ukraine
  • S. e. asiatica: White supercillium and sometimes a white forehead
  • S. e. arctica: North-central Siberia to Anadyr River (eastern Russia) - sometimes split as Siberian Nuthatch
  • S. e. hispaniensis: Iberian Peninsula
  • S. e. atlas: Morocco
  • S. e. cisalpina: southern Switzerland (south of the Alps), mainland Italy, Sicily, and western coastal Balkans, south to southwestern Montenegro
  • S. e. levantina: Western Asia Minor, Levant and southern Turkey (east to Euphrates River)
  • S. e. caucasica: Northern and north-eastern Turkey, Caucasus region and Transcaucasia
  • S. e. rubiginosa: South-eastern Transcaucasia (Talyshskiye and Gory mountains) to northern Iran
  • S. e. persica: Zagros Mountains (south-western Iran)
  • S. e. seorsa: North-western China (eastern Tien Shan Mountains of northern Xinjiang)
  • S. e. sakhalinensis: Sakhalin (Russia)
  • S. e. takatsukasai: southern Kuril Islands (Iturup and Urup)
  • S. e. clara: southern Kuril Islands (Kunashir and Shikotan) and northern Japan (Hokkaido)
  • S. e. baicalensis: southeastern Siberia, from region south and east of Lake Baikal, east to the Sea of Okhotsk and northeastern China
  • S. e. albifrons: northeastern Russia (southern Koryak Highlands and the Kamchatka Peninsula) and northern Kuril Islands (Paramushir)
  • S. e. amurensis: South-eastern Russia to north-eastern China, Korea and Honshu (northern Japan)
  • S. e. roselia: Southern Japan (south-eastern Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu)
Subspecies amurensis Photo © by AkimotoTogakushi, Nagano, Japan, 3 May 2014
Subspecies amurensis
Photo © by Akimoto
Togakushi, Nagano, Japan, 3 May 2014
  • S. e. bedfordi: Cheju-Do Islands (Korea)
  • S. e. hondoensis: central and southern Japan (Honshu, Shikoku, and northern Kyushu)
  • S. e. sinensis: Central and eastern China
  • S. e. formosana: Taiwan

Note: subspecies nebulosa, with range “S China (lowlands of s Yunnan)” is no longer recognzied. It is a junior synonym of nagaensis, a subspecies of Chestnut-vented Nuthatch

[edit] Habitat

Breeds in mixed and deciduous woods and parkland.

[edit] Behaviour

They travel head-first down trees and are often seen on the underside of branches. They also hang upside down in trees.

[edit] Breeding

It nests in holes, lined with grass and bark, in old trees. The clutch consists of 5-8 white, red speckled eggs.
A monogamous and territorial species. The size of the nest entrance is often reduced by plasterng with mud. Sometimes the interior is also plastered to protect against wind and rain.

[edit] Diet

Subspecies europaeaPhoto © by Digiscoper321West Sweden, 13 February 2012
Subspecies europaea
Photo © by Digiscoper321
West Sweden, 13 February 2012

The diet includes insects, seeds and nuts. Visits garden feeders in winter. Will store food in the autumn for retrieval in the winter months.

[edit] Vocalisation

Call: tui-tui-tui.

Listen in an external program

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. Wikipedia contributors. (2019, May 13). Eurasian nuthatch. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 08:00, May 29, 2019, from
  3. Grant, P.J., K. Mullarney, L. Svensson, D. Zetterstrom (1999) Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe. Harpercollins Pub Ltd ISBN 0 00 219728 6
  4. Brazil, M. (1991) The Birds of Japan, Smithsonian Inst. Press.
  5. Brazil, M. (2018). Birds of Japan. Helm, London. ISBN 978-1-4729-1386-9
  6. Harrap, S., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 13 May 2019).
  7. Harrap, S. & Quinn. D. (1995) Chickadees, Tits, Nuthatches & Treecreepers. Princeton Univ. Press.
  8. Red’kin, Y. and Konovalova, M. 2006. Systemic Notes on Asian Birds. 63. The eastern Asiatic races of Sitta europaea. Zool. Med. Leiden 80

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