Giant nuthatch

Sitta magna

SUBFAMILY

Sittinae

TAXONOMY

Sitta magna Ramsay, 1876. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Sitelle géante; German: Riesenkleiber; Spanish: Sita Gigante.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

8 in (20 cm), with a short tail. The back is colored blue-gray, the crown blue-gray, undersides light gray with chestnut beneath tail, throat white, and with a black line through the eye.

DISTRIBUTION

Occurs in southwestern China, east-central Myanmar, and northwestern China.

Sitta magna I Resident

HABITAT

Occurs in open montane forest with pines present or dominant, at altitudes of 3,900-8,200 ft (1,200-2,500 m) or higher.

BEHAVIOR

Occurs as pairs that defend a breeding territory. Does not migrate. Occurs in mixed-species flocks with tits (or chickadees) and other nuthatch species in the nonbreeding season. The song is a series of loud trisyllabic calls.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Gleans invertebrates from tree bark and foliage and also eats fruits and seeds in winter.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Pairs nest in a tree cavity. The female incubates the eggs but both sexes feed the young.

CONSERVATION STATUS

A rare species that is listed as Vulnerable. This species is much reduced in abundance and range. It has been greatly affected by habitat loss caused by agricultural disturbance and conversion and by fuelwood harvesting. Its remaining critical habitats must be protected.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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