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Nuthatch-Vanga - BirdForum Opus

Alternative Names: Coral-billed Nuthatch; Coralbill; Madagascar Nuthatch

Photo by edenwatcher
Andasibe National Park, Perinet, Madagascar, October 2010
Hypositta corallirostris


13 - 14cm. A small, highly distinctive vanga, the claw of the first toe is elongated (20mm):


  • Mid-blue plumage
  • Black lower forehead, lores and chin
  • Variable pale buff on vent
  • Dark brown eye
  • Bright orange-red bill
  • Dark grey legs


  • Brownish-green head, lacking black eyestripe
  • Buffy forecrown
  • Blue hindcronw, mantle, scapulars, upperwing-coverts and tail
  • Buffish rump, chin, breast and belly
  • Bill duller red

Juveniles are similar to females.


Endemic to north and east Madagascar.
Locally common in its restricted range.


This is a monotypic species.
The described form perdita, sometimes accepted as full species (Bluntschli's Vanga), is based on two juveniles found in a museum drawer. It might be just aberrant examples of this species.


Evergreen humid forest from sea-level up to 1800m.


Feeds on small invertebrates and small vertebrates.
Climbs tree trunks like a nuthatch, searching for food on bark.
Usually seen in groups of two or three birds, almost always in mixed-species flocks with other vangas, Madagascar Cuckooshrike, Madagascar Bulbul, Common Newtonia or Madagascar Paradise-Flycatcher.
Breeding season probably from August to September. One described nest was a cup made from live and dead mosses, attached to a tree trunk. No other information about breeding. A sedentary species.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2009. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 14: Bush-shrikes to Old World Sparrows. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553507

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