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Velvet-fronted Nuthatch - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Sitta frontalis)

Alternative name: Velvet-fronted Blue Nuthatch

Male nominate subspecies
Photo © by rimnahm
Thung Yai Naresuan wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand
Sitta frontalis


12.5cm (5 in). A medium-small nuthatch.

  • Bright red bill
  • Velvety black patch on forehead
  • Narrow black supercilium
  • Deep violet-blue upperparts
  • Whitish throat and breast
  • Buff underparts

Females are similar but they lack the black supercilium. Juveniles are like adults but with a black bill.


Female nominate subspecies
Photo © by appendiculata191
Phu Khiao Wildlife Reserve, Thailand, February 2011

From India east to Burma, Thailand, Indochina, southern China, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, Java and the southernmost islands of the Philippines.
Common in parts of its range.


Sometimes with Yellow-billed Nuthatch and Sulphur-billed Nuthatch placed in the genus Oenositta. May form a superspecies with this two species.


Nominate subspecies
Photo © by robby thai
Kaeng Krachan National Park, Thailand, April 2016

Five subspecies recognized[1]:


Forests. Found in tropical rainforest, semi-evergreen hill forest, deciduous forest, pine forest and also in plantations.
Generally in lowlands but also in hills and up to 2200m.



Feeds on insects and spiders.
Frequents the canopy and middle story in small noisy parties or sometimes solitarily, rapidly moving up and down tree trunks while foraging. Often in mixed species flocks.


The nest is placed in a hole in a dead branch or a tree trunk, 1 to 12m above the ground. Lays 2 to 6 eggs.


A resident species. Probably some altitudinal movements.


Recording by Alok Tewari
Sat Tal Forest, Alt. 5500 ft., Uttarakhand Himalayas, India, October-2018
Call given by a male foraging, late morning, as it moved around.


  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 http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2008. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 13: Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553453
  3. Birds of Indian Subcontinent : Richard Grimmett et al, 2nd edition, 2011

Recommended Citation

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