Yunnan Nuthatch Sitta yunnanensis


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a moderately small range, within which it is patchily distributed, and consequently it is thought to have a small global population size. Numbers are suspected to be declining owing to habitat loss, although it is apparently tolerant of some levels of habitat degradation; the species is therefore considered Near Threatened.

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified, but it is described as locally common.

Trend justification
A moderate and on-going population decline is suspected to be occurring as a result of habitat degradation and clearance.

Distribution and population

Sitta yunnanensis is known from south-east Tibet, southern Sichuan and northern Yunnan, and the western extreme of Guizhou, China. The species was also reported in Arunachal Pradesh in March 2014 (Bonpo and Kuriakose 2014). It is locally common, but it has disappeared from several of the localities where it was recorded in the early 20th century.


This species occurs in open mature pine forest (avoiding other types of coniferous forest) with little undergrowth or scrub, mainly from 2,400-3,400 m.


This species is presumably continuing to decline as a result of logging and forest fires, although it does appear able to adapt to degraded and secondary forest.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct repeated surveys within the range to determine current distribution and abundance, as well as assess population trends and rates of habitat loss. Conduct ecological studies to improve understanding of its precise habitat requirements, particularly tolerance of secondary habitats and response to fragmentation. Effectively protect significant areas of suitable forest at key sites.


12 cm. Small nuthatch with long, broad black mask and narrow white supercilium. Similar spp. Combination of size, supercilium, grey crown and uniform whitish underparts (including undertail-coverts), with only faint pale pinkish-buff wash, rule out other nuthatches in same range. Juveniles have narrower mask and shorter supercilium. Voice Calls include nasal kni, pi, tit and toik notes (former two often repeated) and harsh, scolding schri-schri-schri.., sometimes grading to strident, nasal ziew-ziew-ziew...


Text account compilers
Gilroy, J., Khwaja, N., Westrip, J., Benstead, P.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Sitta yunnanensis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/01/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 19/01/2022.