Family Nuthatches (Sittidae)

Least Concern

Siberian Nuthatch (Sitta arctica)


French: Sittelle de Sibérie German: Sibirienkleiber Spanish: Trepador siberiano
Other common names: Taiga Nuthatch

Sitta arctica


, 1907,

Verkhoyansk (lat. 67½° N [long.133°23’ E]), eastern Siberia


Until recently considered conspecific with S. europaea, but differs in multiple characters and may in fact be sympatric (or otherwise parapatric) with S. e. baicalensis; published data on morphometrics include improbably small standard deviations#R (such that its longer wing and shorter hind toe emerge as exceptional differences, total score 8), but a practised estimation of mensural values suggests that present species may be scored on following differences: longer wing, tail, bill and hind claw (allow 2); shorter tarsus and hind toe and narrower bill (allow 2); shorter, narrower black eyestripe vs all S. europaea subspecies (1); plumbeous-grey vs whitish-grey underwing-coverts (2); considerably more white in outer two rectrices (2); various other structural and plumage features, latter including lack of sexual dimorphism (ns); a reputedly “sharply” different voice (ns)#R; and (at least) parapatric distribution (3). Moreover, molecular analysis places present species as sister to S. europaea#R. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

C & NE Siberia from Yenisey Basin and Yakutia (from c. 105–106° E) E to Anadyrland, upper R Penzhina and NW Koryak Highlands.

Descriptive notes

15–16 cm; mean 20.5 g. Medium-large nuthatch with wing more pointed than that of S. europaea, tarsus and toes short (but hindclaw rather long), bill more slender... read more


Calls and song very similar to those of S. europaea (which see). Song of present taxon a... read more


Occurs in mature forest with well-developed canopy; prefers deciduous forests with large old trees... read more

Food and feeding

Diet consists largely of small arthropods, and in autumn and winter nuts and seeds, with seeds of Siberian stone pine (Pinus sibirica... read more


Laying mostly in May–Jun. Nest similar to that of S. europaea, in natural hole in tree or in old woodpecker hole situated up to 20... read more


Mainly resident; may make rather limited movements to S... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common. Occurs at fairly low density within its reasonably large range. This species’ dependence on boreal forest may render... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Christie, D.A. (2020). Siberian Nuthatch (Sitta arctica). 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).