2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Birds

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
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