Western Rock Nuthatch Sitta neumayer


Justification of Red List category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 1,030,000-5,080,000 pairs, which equates to 2,060,000-10,200,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.80% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 2,575,000-12,750,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. The European population is estimated to be stable (BirdLife International 2015).


This species occupies barren regions and areas with low shrubs, herbs and grasses, and is occasionally found in woodland with scattered rocks. It chooses sites with bare rocks, typically rocky slopes, cliffs and gorges in dry or arid regions, including walls, old buildings and ancient ruins. The breeding season is from late March to April or May. The nest is built mainly by the male and is a remarkable flask-shaped structure, with an entrance tunnel up to 10 cm long and is sited on a rock face, usually under a slight overhang or sometimes on a building or other man-made structure. It is built of mud, animal dung, hair, feathers, beetle wings and similar materials. The chamber is lined with hair, wool, feathers and grass. The surrounding area is sometimes decorated with various objects, both natural and man-made. Clutches are four to ten eggs (Harrap 2015). In the summer it feeds mainly on insects and in the autumn and winter mostly on seeds, although snails are also important (Snow and Perrins 1998). The species is sedentary, showing limited post-breeding dispersal (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997).


There are currently no known significant threats to this species.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
There are no known current conservation measures for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
No conservation measures are currently needed for this species.


Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Sitta neumayer. Downloaded from on 23/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/02/2024.