Western Rock Nuthatch
The western rock nuthatch (Sitta neumayer) (sometimes known simply as rock nuthatch) is a small passerine bird which breeds from Croatia east through Greece and Turkey to Iran. This nuthatch is largely resident apart from some post-breeding dispersal. The eastern rock nuthatch Sitta tephronota is a separate species, which occurs further east in south-central Asia.
The western rock nuthatch is a bird associated with habitats with bare rocks, especially in mountainous areas. Those at the highest altitudes may move lower down in winter.
It feeds on insects and spiders in summer, supplemented with seeds and snails in winter. It feeds on the ground, and will wedge larger items in rock crevices while it hammers them open with its strong bill. It will also flycatch.
The western rock nuthatch is 13.5 cm long, slightly smaller than Eurasian nuthatch, and has the typical nuthatch big head, short tail and powerful bill and feet. It is long-legged and long-billed compared to most of its relatives.
The race S. n. neumayer of southeast Europe is dark grey above, and has a long strong black eyestripe. It has a white throat and underparts shading to buff on the belly. Sexes are similar, and young birds are slightly duller versions of the adults. Two other races in the west of its Asian range are similar but less well marked.
S.n. tschitscherini of western Iran is paler grey above and has a much weaker eyestripe. S.n. plumbea of southern Iran resembles tschitscherini, but has grey underparts.