Indian Nuthatches

The Indian Nuthatches (Sitta castanea) were previously considered conspecific (one and the same species) with the Chestnut-bellied Nuthatches (Sitta cinnamoventris); but these species have been separated based on physical, vocal and geographic differences (Rasmussen and Anderton, 2005).

The Indian Nuthatches are found in Northern and central India; and the Chestnut-bellied Nuthatches occur in the foothills of the Himalayas – from northeast India to western Yunnan and Thailand.

Distribution / Range

The Indian Nuthatches are found in India on the Gangetic Plain and terai from south central Punjab and eastern Rajasthan east to Bihar and West Bengal, and from northern Maharashtra east to Orissa and southern and northern Andhra Pradesh.

Populations also exist in the foothills of southern Western Ghats from southern Karnataka south through Nilgiris to Palghat hills (east Kerala and west Tamil Nadu); as well as in southwestern Nepal and southern Bangladesh (Sundarbans).

They inhabit dry and moist lowland forests, as well as humid mountainous areas.

Most breeding occurs between February to July


The Indian Nuthatches measure about 5.25 inches (13 cm) in length. They are the only grey-backed, rufous-bellied nuthatches in the Indian peninsula. They resemble the Chestnut-bellied Nuthatches; but have smaller bills.

The frosty crown is paler than the mantle. The wing and tail patterns lack contrast, and they have grey centers to the chestnut undertail coverts (feathers).

Alternate (Global) Names

French: Sittelle à ventre marron, Sittelle indienne … German: Zimtkleiber, Kastanienkleiber … Italian: Picchio muratore ventrecastano … Polish: kowalik kasztanowaty … Spanish: Sita de Vientre Castaño, Trepador Indio

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