Krueper's Nuthatch Sitta krueperi


Justification of Red List Category
This species is classified as Least Concern because although the population trend appears to be decreasing it is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations).

Population justification
The breeding population, which is confined to Europe is estimated at 121,000-451,000 pairs, which equates to 241,000-901,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend justification
The species is is estimated to be decreasing by less than 25% in 12 years (three generations) (BirdLife International 2015).

Distribution and population

This species is endemic to Europe, where it is found in southernmost European Russia, Georgia, Turkey and the island of Lesbos, Greece. Its breeding population is estimated to be 121,000-451,000 pairs, with the majority - an estimated 100,000-400,000 breeding pairs - in Turkey (BirdLife International 2015). Although the small population in Greece is believed to have remained stable (HOS in litt. 2008, BirdLife International 2015), the populations in Turkey and Russia - which together constitute over 95% of the known global population - both declined during 1990-2000 (BirdLife International 2004) and the population in Turkey declined between 2000-2012 (the trend in Russia was unknown) (BirdLife International 2015). In Russia, significant declines have been observed in the Karachay-Cherkessia, whereas numbers in the Krasnodar region appear to be stable (A. Mischenko in litt. 2005).


The species inhabits temperate coniferous forest, from sea-level up to c.2,400 m. In Turkey, it occurs mostly between 1,000-1,600 m, mainly in forests of Austrian Pine Pinus nigra (average density: 12.7 individuals/km2), Cicilian Fir Abies cilicica (11.6 ind./km2), Lebanon Cedar Cedrus libani (8.5 ind./km2), Calabrian Pine Pinus brutia (7.8 ind./km2) and juniper Juniperus spp. (Albayrak et al. 2006, T. Albayrak in litt. 2007). In the Caucasus, it occurs mainly in the zone of spruce Picea forests between 1,000 and 2,000 m, mostly in old stands of Caucasian Fir Abies nordmanniana, but also in pine Pinus forest. Nests in Antalya, south-western Turkey, were found in slightly decayed old tree trunks or cavities already excavated by woodpeckers in natural (non-planted) middle- or old-aged conifer forest (Albayrak and Erdogan 2005a; Albayrak and Erdogan 2005b). The most significant factors limiting breeding success were the felling of dead trees and the occupation of nest sites by Forest Dormouse Dryomys nitedula, bats, bees and other insects (Albayrak and Erdogan 2005a). It feeds largely on insects and spiders in the breeding season and chicks are fed entirely on animal material. In autumn and winter it feeds on the seeds of coniferous trees and will cache food for times of poor weather (Harrap 2008). The species is primarily sedentary but some altitudinal movement occurs in the winter (Tucker and Heath 1994).


In Turkey, forestry is placing considerable pressure on the species's mature coniferous forest habitats (T. Albayrak in litt. 2007). Development for tourism is also a threat, particularly in coastal areas where the species was once numerous (S. Isfendiyaroglu in litt. 2005). A law for the promotion of tourism came into force in Turkey in 2003, further exacerbating the threat from habitat loss (S. Isfendiyaroglu in litt. 2005). Urbanisation and the construction of summer houses is also a growing problem in the Mediterranean part of its range (S. Isfendiyaroglu in litt. 2005).

Conservation actions

Conservation and Research Actions Underway
EU Birds Directive Annex I. Bern Convention Appendix II. Studies of various aspects of the species such as its breeding ecology, habitat requirements and population structure have taken place (Albayrak and Erdogan 2006, Thibault et al. 2006, Albayrak et al. 2011).

Conservation and Research Actions Proposed

Develop a Species Action Plan. Develop a monitoring programme to assess population trends. Assess threats to the species and develop appropriate responses. Follow up on ongoing research work and adopt recommendations as appropriate. A recent phylogeographic study suggests that populations in north-west, north-east and southern Turkey are distinct groups which should be treated as separate conservation units (Albayrak et al. 2012).


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Pople, R. & Ashpole, J

Albayrak, T., Isfendiyaroglu, S., Mischenko, A. & Shergalin, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Sitta krueperi. Downloaded from on 22/01/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/01/2021.