Family Nuthatches (Sittidae)

Near Threatened

Yunnan Nuthatch (Sitta yunnanensis)


French: Sittelle du Yunnan German: Yunnankleiber Spanish: Trepador de Yunnan
Other common names: Black-masked Nuthatch

Sitta yunnanensis


, 1900,

near Wei Yuan, south Yunnan, China


A member of a species group that contains also S. whiteheadi, S. ledanti, S. krueperi, S. villosa and S. canadensis; genetic data now indicate that present species is basal to, but part of, this group#R. Monotypic.


S China, from extreme SE Xizang (Zayu and Zhuwagen) E to S Sichuan (S from Yajiang) and S to W & C Yunnan and W Guizhou. Recently recorded at Walong#R, extreme E Arunachal Pradesh (India).

Descriptive notes

12 cm; 7·5–13 g. A small nuthatch with slender, slightly upturned bill, narrow supercilium and broad long black eyestripe. Male in fresh plumage (Aug to spring)... read more


Rather vocal. Calls include nasal “nit” or “kni”, a shorter, more abrupt... read more


Open mature pine (Pinus) forest with little undergrowth or scrub, apparently avoiding... read more

Food and feeding

Little information. Food insects. Frequently forages among needle clusters of pines in manner of a tit (Paridae).  


Female in Guizhou on 9th Mar was near to laying, and juveniles found from 21st May onwards. No other information.  



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near Threatened. Restricted range species: present in Yunnan Mountains EBA. Locally common. Occurs at few sites on edge of range... read more

Recommended citation

Harrap, S. (2020). Yunnan Nuthatch (Sitta yunnanensis). 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).