Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Eurasian Nuthatch (Sitta europaea)

Latin Etymology: Sitta (bird mentioned by Aristotle) europaea ("of Europe")
Top: Adult Eurasian Nuthatch (subspecies S. e. clara) at Shiranuka, Hokkaido, Japan - December 2014
Bottom: Adult Eurasian Nuthatch (subspecies S. e. caesia) at Geddington, Northants - April 2012 

Local Name (Japan): Gojū-kara (ゴジュウカラ) - "Fifty Tit"
Local Name (Spain): Trepador azul ("Blue Climber")
Featured Subspecies: Sitta europaea clara AND Sitta europaea caesia
Weight: 17-28g
Length: 15cm
Wingspan: 27cm
UK GREEN LIST / IUCN Red List - Least Concern

I have to say I find the nuthatch to be one of the prettier birds in the UK, but unfortunatly it is also fiddly to photograph well. Some people are lucky enough to have them come to their bird tables - unfortunatly despite the fact that they live in nearby woods to me I've never seen one in the garden let alone on the bird table. They can be easily be located by their distinctive call (see the RSPB link) and their orange and blue coloration. Unfortunately they are more flighty than the behaviorally similarly Eurasian Treecreeper and so, as with most woodland birds photographing them requires contending with leaves and branches and poor lighting. If you get them in your garden you'll probably have an easier time.

My single encounter with the Hokkaido subspecies clara was a very different experience.  It's chest is entirely white compared to the orange of the British birds, and it showed very well in associating with some Japanese Tits and Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, coming very close to me on exposed low trunks of trees where I got to look at it at close range.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Sittidae
Genus: Sitta
Subspecies: S. e. caesia, S. e. hispaniensis, S. e. cisalpina, S. e. levantina, S. e. persica, S. e. caucasica, S. e. rubiginosa, S. e. europaea, S. e. asiatica, S. e. arctica, S. e. baicalensis, S. e. sakhalinensis, S. e. clara, S. e. albifrons, S. e. amurensis, S. e. hondoensis, S. e. roseillia, S. e. bedfordi, S. e. seorsa, S. e. sinensis, S. e. formosana

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Widespread resident (220,000 territories)
 - Birds seen at Geddington and other sites.
JAPAN - A fairly common resident.
 - TOKYO/HOKKAIDO 2014 TRIP: A bird seen at close range at Shiranuka.
SPAIN - Scarce and Local Resident
 - MADRID 2016 TRIP: A pair at El Pardo.

Further Notes: Arkive, BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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