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A photo of a Indian Nuthatch (Sitta castanea), male
Indian Nuthatch, Male

Indian Nuthatch

Sitta castanea

The Indian nuthatch (Sitta castanea) is a charming bird, a member of the Sittidae family. It is distinguished by its grey back and rufous belly, a combination unique to this species in the Indian peninsula.

Identification Tips

When observing the Indian nuthatch, look for its smaller bill compared to its relative, the chestnut-bellied nuthatch. Notably, it sports a frosty crown, which is paler than its mantle. The wing and tail patterns are subtle, with grey centers to the chestnut undertail coverts, making it a delightful sight for any avid birdwatcher.


This species thrives in a variety of forested environments, including subtropical or tropical dry forests, moist lowland forests, and moist montane forests.


The Indian nuthatch has a geographical range that includes Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. Within India, it is a resident bird found south of the Ganges river, in the Terai and Gangetic plain, central India, the Eastern Ghats, Sunderbans, and a separate population in the Western Ghats.


The Indian nuthatch is a resident species, meaning it does not migrate and can be observed in its habitat year-round. It is an active bird, often seen scaling tree trunks and branches in search of food.

Song & Calls

The vocalizations of the Indian nuthatch are distinct from those of the chestnut-bellied nuthatch, adding an auditory delight to its visual appeal.


Breeding season for the Indian nuthatch occurs from February to July, a time when one may observe its nesting and courtship behaviors.

Similar Species

While similar to the chestnut-bellied nuthatch, the Indian nuthatch can be differentiated by its smaller bill, paler crown, and the less contrasting wing and tail patterns.

Diet and Feeding

The Indian nuthatch, like other nuthatches, forages for insects and seeds, adeptly navigating the bark of trees to find its sustenance.

Conservation status

The IUCN Red List categorizes the Indian nuthatch as Least Concern, indicating that, currently, there are no immediate threats to its population levels.

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Indian Nuthatches on Birda

A map showing the sighting location
Venkataraman Mahadevan
01 May 2023 - 12:17am

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