Velvet-fronted nuthatch

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Velvet-fronted nuthatch
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Ganeshgudi, 26 FEB 2016, Vimal Rajyaguru,1 (cropped).jpg
In Karnataka, India
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Sittidae
Genus: Sitta
Species: S. frontalis
Binomial name
Sitta frontalis
Swainson, 1820

The velvet-fronted nuthatch (Sitta frontalis) is a small passerine bird found in southern Asia from Nepal, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka ‍and Bangladesh east to south China and Indonesia.[2][3][4][5] It is a member of the nuthatch family Sittidae.

Habitat and Behavior[edit]

It is a resident breeder of all types of woods, although open evergreen forest is the optimal habitat.

It has the ability, like other nuthatches, to climb down trees, unlike species such as woodpeckers which can only go upwards. It moves jerkily up and down or around tree branches and trunks. It is an active feeder on insects and spiders, and may be found in mixed feeding flocks with other passerines.

This is a noisy bird, often located by its repeated “sit-sit-sit” call.


The velvet-fronted nuthatch has the typical nuthatch big head, short tail and powerful bill and feet. It is 12.5 cm long. It is violet-blue above, with lavender cheeks, beige underparts, yellow eyes, and a whitish throat. The bill is red, and there is a black patch on the forehead. The male also has a black supercilium.

Females lack the supercilium and have a warmer underpart colour. Juveniles are duller versions of the adult. There are four races differing in the shade of the underparts and the extent of white on the throat.


Nests are in tree holes or crevices, lined with moss, fur and feathers, or grass. Often the nuthatch needs to enlarge the hole, but a large hole may have the size of its entrance reduced by the building of a neat mud wall. Three to six eggs are laid, white speckled with red.



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Sitta frontalis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ J, Praveen (17 November 2015). "A checklist of birds of Kerala, India". Journal of Threatened Taxa. 7 (13): 7983–8009. doi:10.11609/JoTT.2001.7.13.7983-8009. 
  3. ^ "eBird India- Kerala". Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved 2017-10-01. 
  4. ^ K. K., Neelakantan (2017). Keralathile Pakshikal (Birds of Kerala) (5 ed.). Kerala Sahitya Akademi. p. 511. ISBN 978-81-7690-251-9. 
  5. ^ Grimmett, Richard; Inskipp, Tim; P.O., Nameer (2007). Birds of Southern India [Thekke Indiayile Pakshikal (Malayalam version)]. Mumbai: BNHS. 

Further reading[edit]