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Birds Guide


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Male Eurasian Nuthatch
Male Eurasian Nuthatch
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Sittidae
Lesson, 1828
Genus: Sitta
Linnaeus, 1758
22 species, see text

The nuthatches are a family, Sittidae, of generally very similar small passerine birds found throughout the Northern hemisphere.

The nuthatch family, Sittidae, traditionally contained 23 species. The subfamily Sittinae held the 22 species of “true” nuthatches, and the subfamily Tichodromadinae held a single species, the unique Wallcreeper, Tichodroma muraria, which is now separated in its own family, Tichodromadidae.

Most nuthatches are woodland birds, although a few species have adapted to rocky habitats. They have the unusual ability to climb down trees head first, unlike species such as woodpeckers which can only go upwards.

Nuthatches have big heads, short tails and powerful bills and feet. Their shape is distinctive, and all species are recognizable as nuthatches if one has been seen.

They are generally omnivorous, taking insects, nuts and seeds. Most are resident, but the Red-breasted Nuthatch migrates from the north of its range.

Nests are in holes or crevices. In some species the size of the hole is reduced by the building of a mud wall.

This group gets its name from the habit of the Eurasian Nuthatch of wedging a nut in a crevice in a tree, and then hacking at it with its strong bill.

The list of species below, all in the genus Sitta (Linnaeus, 1758), is probably the maximum. Some taxonomists consider that some of the indicated species are in fact conspecific.

Family: Sittidae

  • Eurasian Nuthatch, Sitta europaea
    Chestnut-vented Nuthatch, Sitta nagaensis
    Kashmir Nuthatch, Sitta cashmirensis
    Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Sitta castanea
    White-tailed Nuthatch, Sitta himalayensis
    White-browed Nuthatch, Sitta victoriae
    Pygmy Nuthatch, Sitta pygmaea
    Brown-headed Nuthatch, Sitta pusilla
    Corsican Nuthatch, Sitta whiteheadi
    Algerian Nuthatch, Sitta ledanti
    Krüper's Nuthatch, Sitta krueperi
    Chinese Nuthatch, Sitta villosa
    Yunnan Nuthatch, Sitta yunnanensis
    Red-breasted Nuthatch, Sitta canadensis
    White-cheeked Nuthatch, Sitta leucopsis
    White-breasted Nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
    Western Rock Nuthatch, Sitta neumayer
    Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Sitta tephronota
    Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Sitta frontalis
    Yellow-billed Nuthatch, Sitta solangiae
    Sulphur-billed Nuthatch, Sitta oenochlamys
    Blue Nuthatch, Sitta azurea
    Giant Nuthatch, Sitta magna
    Beautiful Nuthatch, Sitta formosa


  • Tits, Nuthatches and Treecreepers, Harrap and Quinn, ISBN 0-7136-3964-4
  • The Nuthatches, Erik Matthysen, Academic Press 1998, ISBN 0-85661-101-8

External links

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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.

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