Family Sittellas (Neosittidae)

Least Concern

Papuan Sittella (Daphoenositta papuensis)


French: Néositte papoue German: Papuakleiber Spanish: Neosita papú

Sitta papuensis


, 1871,

#R, Arfak Mountains, New Guinea


Previously placed in Neositta#R. Commonly treated as conspecific with D. chrysoptera, but differs in its lack of bold wingpanel (pale tan or white) on both sides of the wing (only a narrow vague white bar on underwing) (4); much darker, more broadly streaked upperparts (2); voice with slightly higher frequencies (1)#R; also different habitat of montane rainforest vs mostly dry woodland and avoiding rainforest (1). Race intermedia sometimes included in alba and wahgiensis in toxopeusi#R. Six subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. p. papuensis (Schlegel, 1871) – mountains of Vogelkop Peninsula, in W New Guinea; sight record from Fakfak Mts (in Bomberai Peninsula) may refer to this form#R.
  • D. p. alba (Rand, 1940) – N slopes of Snow Mts, in N New Guinea.
  • D. p. intermedia (Junge, 1952) – W end of Snow Mts (Wissel Lakes area), in WC New Guinea.
  • D. p. toxopeusi (Rand, 1940) – S slopes of Snow Mts, in WC New Guinea.
  • D. p. wahgiensis (Gyldenstolpe, 1955) – Central Highlands (Mt Hagen–Wahgi Valley), in EC New Guinea.
  • D. p. albifrons (E. P. Ramsay, 1883) – mountains of SE New Guinea; population of Huon Peninsula possibly of this form#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    10–14 cm, mostly 10·5–11·5 cm; 8–20 g. Very small, compact and largely streaked passerine, with white rump and white wingbar visible in flight. Adult male has variably... read more


    Similar to D. chrysoptera, utters short emphasized “tsip” notes in irregular series, but... read more


    Confined to mid-montane rainforest and lower cloud forest, and edges at 1400–2200 m, occasionally... read more

    Food and feeding

    Presumably insectivorous, but no information on diet and very little on behavioural ecology. Apparently always found in flocks of 4–10... read more


    Nesting and breeding ecology completely unknown, but probably a cooperative breeder (as in previously conspecific D. chrysoptera).



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common, but observed only infrequently at most localities. Not at any apparent risk, being confined to relatively... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Papuan Sittella (Daphoenositta papuensis). 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 25 March 2019).