Sitta formosa 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Sittidae

Scientific Name: Sitta formosa
Species Authority: Blyth, 1843
Common Name(s):
English Beautiful Nuthatch
Identification information: 16.5 cm. Dazzling, large nuthatch. Black upperside with brilliant blue to white streaks on crown, nape and mantle, broad blue band along scapulars to back and rump and two narrow, white wing-bars. Dull rufous-buff underparts with paler throat and head-sides. Voice Rapid high, tremulous chit'it'it'it'it'it'it'it and shorter, hesitant chit-it chit-it chit-it and chit'it-it, chirririt-it. Hints Check mixed-species flocks foraging in large trees at high altitude.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Choudhury, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Gilroy, J., Benstead, P.
This nuthatch has a small, declining, severely fragmented population as a result of loss, degradation and fragmentation of evergreen and semi-evergreen forest. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Vulnerable (VU)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Sitta formosa has a broad range encompassing Bhutan, north-east India, west, north and east Myanmar, south-east Yunnan, China, East (Vogel et al. 2003) and West Tonkin, north Vietnam, and north and central Laos, with a few records from extreme north-west Thailand. It is rare and very locally distributed throughout this range. Recent records suggest that Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh in India, north Myanmar and Laos support the most important populations.

Countries occurrence:
Bhutan; China; India; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Myanmar; Thailand; Viet Nam
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 376000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 600
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2400
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, based on an assessment of recent records and surveys by BirdLife International (2001). This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend Justification:  A moderate population decline is suspected to be on-going, owing to the moderately rapid loss and degradation of habitats across the range.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 2500-9999 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: Yes
No. of subpopulations: 2-100 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It occurs in mature broadleaved forests, although it has been reported from open country with scattered trees in Myanmar. It frequents the middle and upper canopies of large trees draped in mosses, lichens, orchids and other epiphytes. In central Laos it appears to be associated with Fokienia trees. It is essentially resident, but occurs from 1,500-2,400 m in the breeding season, descending at other times, generally not below 600 m, although it has been recorded as low as 300 m in the eastern Himalayas.

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 4
Movement patterns: Altitudinal Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The main threat is forest loss, degradation and fragmentation, predominantly as a result of shifting cultivation, but more locally large-scale timber extraction (e.g. logging of the valuable Fokienia hodginsii in central Laos and north Vietnam), and overgrazing, burning and wood cutting (north-east India). High hunting pressure in parts of its range is unlikely to be more than a minor threat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Populations are known to occur in several protected areas, including Thrumshing La National Park (Bhutan), Namdapha National Park, Eagle's Nest Wildlife Sanctuary, Sessa orchid Sanctuary and Buxa Tiger Reserve (India), Nakai-Nam Theun, Nam Xam and Phou Louay National Biodiversity Conservation Areas (Laos), and also Huanglianshan Nature Reserve (China).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys for the species in current "gaps" within its broad range to clarify its current distribution and population status. Identify sites supporting key populations of this and other threatened montane species, and make recommendations for their establishment as protected areas, proposing linkage to existing reserves where possible. Campaign against further large-scale montane timber extraction within its range. Promote widespread conservation awareness initiatives in hill and mountain communities aimed at reducing habitat loss and fragmentation resulting from shifting agriculture.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Sitta formosa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22711231A38241274. . Downloaded on 26 November 2015.
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