Family Nuthatches (Sittidae)

Least Concern

Indian Nuthatch (Sitta castanea)


French: Sittelle indienne German: Kastanienkleiber Spanish: Trepador indio

Sitta castanea


, 1830,

no locality = Bengal, India


Formerly treated as conspecific with S. cinnamoventris and S. neglecta, but differs morphologically from both in characters given under those species. Birds in S Bangladesh (Sundarbans) presumed to belong to this species, rather than to S. cinnamoventris. Birds from Anantagiri, in NE Andhra Pradesh (E India), described as race prateri on basis of slightly longer bill and paler underparts, but variation slight and naming of geographical races considered unwarranted. Monotypic.


India on Gangetic Plain and terai from SC Punjab and E Rajasthan E to Bihar and West Bengal, and from N Maharashtra and S Madhya Pradesh E to Odisha and S to N Andhra Pradesh, also in foothills of S Western Ghats from W Karnataka S through Nilgiris to Palghat hills (E Kerala and W Tamil Nadu); also SW Nepal and S Bangladesh (Sundarbans).

Descriptive notes

12·5 cm; one male 12 g. A medium-small nuthatch with short, slender bill. Male has crown to nape and upper mantle light blue-grey, remainder of upperparts, including... read more


Song a loud, mellow, rapid trill, level or slightly falling in pitch towards end, “chi-li-li-... read more


Deciduous forest, village groves, roadside trees, sometimes gardens; in N India and SW Nepal... read more

Food and feeding

Food insects and spiders (Araneae), also seeds and nuts. Found singly, but more often in pairs or loose family parties; frequently joins... read more


Season late Feb to May (most eggs laid in Mar) in N of range and Apr–Sept in S (Andhra Pradesh). Nest a meagre layer of dried leaves... read more


Resident; no evidence of altitudinal movements.  

Status and conservation

Not assessed. Probably not globally threatened. Common but rather local; commonest in N, especially in Bihar, and scarce in Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Records of a... read more

Recommended citation

Harrap, S. (2019). Indian Nuthatch (Sitta castanea). 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 21 April 2019).