Sitta ledanti 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Sittidae

Scientific Name: Sitta ledanti Vielliard, 1976
Common Name(s):
English Algerian Nuthatch, Kabylian Nuthatch, Kabylie Nuthatch
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Identification information: 12.5 cm. Small, rotund, short-tailed nuthatch. Male has small black cap and obvious white eye-stripe, grey upperparts and white throat and buffy breast and belly. Female has a grey crown with some black feathers on the forecrown and has overall paler breast and belly. Both male and female have creamy-buff vent and undertail coverts with several diffuse grey spots. Voice Nuthatch-like call of tseet tseet. Birds give also a rather harsh, jay-like “schrr-schrr”, repeated a few times Hints Birds may join mixed-species foraging flocks outside the breeding season.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v);C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Isenmann, P. & Monticelli, D.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Ekstrom, J., Pilgrim, J., Shutes, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J. & Westrip, J.
This species, only discovered in 1975, is the only bird species endemic to Algeria. It has a very small range, being known from just four locations. It has very specific ecological requirements and habitat at one site in particular is severely threatened and declining in quality. Its overall population is likely to be very small and may be declining. It is therefore classified as Endangered.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Sitta ledanti maintains populations at four known sites in Algeria. There are c.350 birds within the Taza National Park on the Guerrouch massif, c.80 pairs on Mt Babor (where optimum habitat covers only 2.5 km2) and two further populations adjacent to those in the Taza National Park (uncounted, but evidently not larger than the Taza population) survive at Tamentout and Djimla. Searches elsewhere in the region have been unsuccessful, although it is likely to be present at other oakwoods in Lesser Kabylie (Isenmann and Moali 2000). All four known sites are within 30 km of each other, although separated by tracts of unsuitable habitat (Harrap 1992). It is possible that the total population does not exceed 1,000 birds (Harrap and Quinn 1996).

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:720
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:4Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower elevation limit (metres):350
Upper elevation limit (metres):2000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population size may not exceed 1,000 birds. It is placed in the band 250-999 mature individuals, equating to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend Justification:  The population is suspected to be in decline owing to the effects of fire, grazing by livestock and human disturbance (in the form of military actions against residual terrorist groups; R. Cheke in litt. 2007). However, there is no evidence to support the suspicion of a decline (R. Cheke in litt. 2007), and there is no estimate for the likely rate.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:250-999Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:2-100Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It is found in summit forest (c.2,000 m), in oak forest from 350-1,120 m, and in poorly regenerating oak forest between 900 and 1,400 m. Low altitude (c.800 m) habitats in Tamentout Forest consist of cork oak dominated-forest stands where nuthatch densities are likely to be much lower than at higher altitudes (c.1000 m and above) where cork oaks are replaced by pure deciduous oak species (Quercus canariensis and Q. afares) (Monticelli and Legrand 2009). In summer, it forages on tree trunks and in the twigs and outer branches of oaks, feeding on insects (mainly caterpillars and beetles) and spiders. In winter, it feeds largely on nuts and seeds of which the four seed-producing trees on Mt Babor appear to ensure a constant supply (Harrap and Quinn 1996). In Tamentout and Mt Babor, the breeding season is May-June, depending on weather conditions or possibly abundance of food, and perhaps generally later at higher altitude sites (D. Monticelli in litt. 2012). In Taza National Park, the breeding season is known to finish by late June (Harrap and Quinn 1996). Nest-holes are usually located 3-15 m up in dead fir trees and also in cedar and oak snags.

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):4
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The summit forests of Mt Babor (although in a national park) have been reduced by fire, which also changes the habitat from rich mixed forest to a poorer cedar-dominated succession (Harrap and Quinn 1996). Large numbers of livestock cause lack of regeneration and an impoverished understorey (Harrap and Quinn 1996). The construction of a motorable track in the 1970s has led to erosion in the area and an increased risk of fire. Human disturbance occurs in the area in the form of military activity against terrorist groups (P. Isenmann in litt. 2007). Illegal deforestation takes place on Mt Babor and Tamentout (D. Monticelli in litt. 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The species is well protected in the Taza National Park (Harrap and Quinn 1996).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Collaborate with local communities to explore different forest management techniques on Mt Babor. Establish plantations outside the present forest perimeter to alleviate pressure for firewood. Conduct a reforestation programme on the southern slopes of Mt Babor. Control grazing by livestock. Implement fire control measures. Model potentially suitable habitat to predict population size and better target searches of sites where the species may occur (D. Monticelli in litt. 2012).

Amended [top]

Amended reason: Altered threats coding table.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.4. Forest - Temperate
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
2. Land/water management -> 2.2. Invasive/problematic species control
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.2. Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

4. Transportation & service corridors -> 4.1. Roads & railroads
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Negligible declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Low Impact: 5 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.2. War, civil unrest & military exercises
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Majority (50-90%) ♦ severity:Unknown ⇒ Impact score:Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.1. Fire & fire suppression -> 7.1.3. Trend Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Past, Likely to Return ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines ⇒ Impact score:Past Impact 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

Bibliography [top]

Collar, N. J.; Stuart, S. N. 1985. Threatened birds of Africa and related islands: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, and International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Cambridge, U.K.

Harrap, S. 1992. Little known West Palearctic birds: Algerian Nuthatch. Birding World 5(4): 154-156.

Harrap, S.; Quinn, D. 1996. Tits, nuthatches and treecreepers. A&C Black, London.

Isenmann, P. and Moali, A. 2000. Oiseaux d'Algérie - Birds of Algeria. Société d'Études Ornithologiques de France, Paris.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at: (Accessed: 07 December 2016).

IUCN. 2017. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-3. Available at: (Accessed: 5 December 2017).

Monticelli, D.; Legrand, V. 2009. Algerian Nuthatch: a photographic trip. Dutch Birding 31: 247-251.

Monticelli, D.; Legrand, V. 2009. Identification of Algerian Nuthatch. Birding World 22(8): 333-335.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Sitta ledanti (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22711179A119435091. . Downloaded on 19 August 2018.
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