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A photo of a Corsican Nuthatch (Sitta whiteheadi)
Corsican Nuthatch

Corsican Nuthatch

Sitta whiteheadi

The Corsican nuthatch (Sitta whiteheadi) is a diminutive bird, a mere 12 cm in length, cloaked in bluish gray above and a more subdued grayish white below. The male is notably marked by an entirely black crown, setting it apart from the female.

Identification Tips

This species is characterized by its small size, bluish gray upperparts, and pale grayish underparts. The male's black crown and eyestripe, set against a white supercilium, contrast with the female's more uniformly gray head. The bill is short and blackish gray, tapering to a fine point.


The Corsican nuthatch is a denizen of old-growth forests dominated by high-altitude laricio pines, descending to lower elevations in the winter months.


Endemic to the island of Corsica, this bird's presence is confined to the mature pine forests that adorn the rugged mountainous landscape.


The Corsican nuthatch is a sedentary and territorial creature, exhibiting little fear of human observers. It is often seen foraging high in the canopy of Corsican pines, adeptly navigating the branches in its quest for sustenance.

Song & Calls

The species communicates with a light, whistling "pu" call, often repeated in a series. When agitated, it may emit a "rough and stretched" pchèèhr or a more rapid psch-psch-psch. Its song is a clear, sonorous trill, reminiscent of the alpine swift.


Breeding occurs between April and May, with nests typically situated within the trunks of aged pines. Clutches usually consist of five to six eggs, with the young fledging after 22 to 24 days.

Similar Species

The Corsican nuthatch is unique in its range, but its head markings may recall those of the coal tit. It can be distinguished from the Eurasian nuthatch by its smaller size and lack of yellow or orange on the underparts.

Diet and Feeding

A diet primarily of pine nuts is supplemented by small flying insects in the summer. The nuthatch forages high in the pine trees during the warmer months, shifting to the trunks and larger branches in the autumn.

Conservation status

With an estimated population of around 2,000 individuals and a distribution limited to Corsica, the Corsican nuthatch is classified as "vulnerable" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, facing threats from habitat loss and fragmentation.

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Corsican Nuthatches on Birda

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Profile picture for Gabriele Raiser
Gabriele Raiser
29 Sep 2023 - 3:10pm

More Nuthatches

A photo of a Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) , male

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Sitta canadensis
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