Family Nuthatches (Sittidae)

Least Concern

Blue Nuthatch (Sitta azurea)


French: Sittelle bleue German: Schwarzbauchkleiber Spanish: Trepador azur

Sitta azurea


, 1830,

“no locality” = Mount Ardjuno, east Java


Has been placed in a separate genus, Poecilositta, but molecular data indicate that present species forms a clade with S. frontalis and S. oenochlamys (S. solangiae unsampled)#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. a. expectata (E. J. O. Hartert, 1914) – extreme S Thailand (Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary), Peninsular Malaysia (in hills and mountains S to Selangor and Pahang) and Sumatra (Barisan Range).
  • S. a. nigriventer (Robinson & Kloss, 1919) – W Java.
  • S. a. azurea Lesson, 1830 – E Java.
  • Descriptive notes

    13·5 cm. A medium-sized nuthatch, usually appearing strikingly black and white with conspicuous pale eyering, and with complex wing pattern. Nominate race in fresh... read more


    Common calls a mellow “tup” or “tip”, an abrupt “whit”, a thin... read more


    Lower montane forest and taller upper montane forest. Recorded at c. 820–1960 m in Malay... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food insects. Occurs in pairs or in parties of up to seven individuals, usually associated with mixed-species flocks; foraging parties... read more


    Poorly known. Collecting nest material (fine stems) on 1st Feb and recently fledged juveniles observed in late Jun and early Jul in Malay... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally fairly common. Somewhat local owing to habitat requirements; on mainland, found in S Thailand only at Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary (... read more

    Recommended citation

    Harrap, S. (2020). Blue Nuthatch (Sitta azurea). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 6 April 2020).