Sunday, 13 February 2011

Eurasian nuthatch

Sitta europaea

(Photo from Fotografija by Beno)

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Sittidae

These birds are found throughout Europe, with the exception of Ireland, Iceland and northern Scandinavia. There are also found in Turkey, the Middle East and northern Iran, and across the temperate latitudes of Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China and Japan. They are also present in Taiwan.

The Eurasian nuthatch is 14-15 cm long and has a wingspan of 20-25 cm. They weigh 20-24 g.

They prefer mature deciduous woodland, but will also be found in gardens and parks with some old trees for nesting.

The Eurasian nuthatch feeds mainly on nuts and seeds, such as acorns and hazel nuts, in the autumn and winter, but invertebrates, such as spiders and beetles in the summer.

These birds start breeding in late April. They will nest either in a hole in a tree or wall, or take over an abandoned nest. They often use nest boxes. The hole may be reduced in size by plastering it with mud and the nest is made from bark chips and dead leaves. There the female 4-13 glossy white eggs with reddish-brown spots. The eggs are incubated by the female alone, for 14-18 days. After hatching, the chicks are fed by both parents and fledge at the age of 23-25 days. Each pair may produce 1-2 clutches per year.


IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
With a global population of 50-250 million individuals and an extremely large breeding range, this species is not threatened at present. The population is suspected to be fluctuating owing to fluctuations in food availability.

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