Family Nuthatches (Sittidae)


Corsican Nuthatch (Sitta whiteheadi)


French: Sittelle corse German: Korsenkleiber Spanish: Trepador corso

Sitta whiteheadi


, 1884,

mountains of Corsica


A member of a species group that contains also S. ledanti, S. krueperi, S. villosa, S. yunnanensis and S. canadensis. Formerly treated as conspecific with S. villosa and S. canadensis; close relationship with these two supported by mitochondrial DNA analysis, which indicates a more distant relationship to S. krueperi, S. ledanti and S. yunnanensis#R. Earlier taxonomic separation of present species from S. canadensis based on studies of vocalizations, breeding biology and behaviour as well as extraordinary geographical disjunction. Monotypic.


Inland mountain ridges on Corsica (from Tartagine S to Ospedale and Mt Cagna).

Descriptive notes

12 cm; 11·8–14·4 g. A small nuthatch with rather long bill and prominent broad white supercilium. Male in fresh plumage (autumn) has glossy black cap from... read more


Contact call a soft, whistled “pu”, singly or in groups of 5–6 notes, sometimes... read more


Primarily forests of Corsican pine (Pinus nigra), characterized by heavy autumn and winter... read more

Food and feeding

Food largely insects and spiders (Araneae) during May–Aug, switching to seeds, especially those of Corsican pine, during rest of year... read more


Season mainly Apr–May, and laying dates synchronous, generally at end Apr or in first ten days May; may be double-brooded. Mated... read more


Resident. Territorial adults almost completely sedentary, probably a reflection of their seed-... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Restricted range species: present in Corsican Mountains Secondary Area. Uncommon and somewhat local; occurs on inland mountain ridges from Tartagine S to Ospedale... read more

Recommended citation

Harrap, S., de Juana, E. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Corsican Nuthatch (Sitta whiteheadi). 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 29 February 2020).