• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

White-tailed Nuthatch - BirdForum Opus

(Redirected from Sitta himalayensis)
Photo © by Alok Tewari
Dalhousie, altitude 6900 feet, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, Himalayas, India
1 June 2023

Alternative name: Himalayan Nuthatch

Sitta himalayensis


12cm. A small Nuthatch.

  • Small bill
  • Rufous-orange underparts
  • Plain bright rufous undertail-coverts
  • Diagnostic white patch on tail (often concealed)
  • Blue-grey upperparts
  • Black mask

Sexes similar, females are duller. Juveniles similar to adults.

Photo © by Rajiv Lather

Similar species

Less boldly patterned head and less contrastingly patterned underparts compared to White-browed Nuthatch. Smaller, with shorter bill, white in tail and slightly paler underside than Kashmir Nuthatch.


Found in the Himalayas from northern India (Himachal Pradesh) east to Nepal, Bhutan and northeast India. Also patchily in northwestern Burma, southern China (Tibet, Yunnan) and northwest Vietnam. Records from eastern Burma and northern Laos probably refer to non-breeding visitors.
Common in parts of its range, rare in others.


This is a monotypic species.
Formerly considered conspecific with White-browed Nuthatch.


Broad leaved and mixed forest, moist forests and montanes. Occurs up to 3050m.


Feeds on insects, nuts and seeds.
Forages singly and in pairs. In summer and early autumn also in small flocks and outside breeding-season often in mixed-species flocks.
Breeding season March to May in Indian Subcontinent. The nest is placed in a tree cavity, if the hole is too large it will be reduced to 25-38 mm. Lays 4 to 7 eggs.
A resident species with some altitudinal movements.


Recording © by Alok Tewari
Dalhousie Hill Station, Himachal Pradesh, Himalayas altitude 6900 feet, India, 1 June 2023
A pair was foraging and calling in the trees on the forest-edge; in this recording, call of the Nuthatch is preceded and followed by calls of Slaty-headed Parakeet.


  1. Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
  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. Rasmussen, PC and JC Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334672

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.