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Krueper's Nuthatch Sitta krueperi

This species is classified as Least Concern because although the population trend appears to be decreasing it is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations).

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Distribution and population
This species is endemic to Europe, where it is found in southernmost European Russia, Georgia, Turkey and the island of Lesbos, Greece. Its breeding population is estimated to be 121,000-451,000 pairs, with the majority - an estimated 100,000-400,000 breeding pairs - in Turkey (BirdLife International 2015). Although the small population in Greece is believed to have remained stable (HOS in litt. 2008, BirdLife International 2015), the populations in Turkey and Russia - which together constitute over 95% of the known global population - both declined during 1990-2000 (BirdLife International 2004) and the population in Turkey declined between 2000-2012 (the trend in Russia was unknown) (BirdLife International 2015). In Russia, significant declines have been observed in the Karachay-Cherkessia, whereas numbers in the Krasnodar region appear to be stable (A. Mischenko in litt. 2005).

Population justification
The breeding population, which is confined to Europe is estimated at 121,000-451,000 pairs, which equates to 241,000-901,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend justification
The species is is estimated to be decreasing by less than 25% in 12 years (three generations) (BirdLife International 2015).

The species inhabits temperate coniferous forest, from sea-level up to c.2,400 m. In Turkey, it occurs mostly between 1,000-1,600 m, mainly in forests of Austrian Pine Pinus nigra (average density: 12.7 individuals/km2), Cicilian Fir Abies cilicica (11.6 ind./km2), Lebanon Cedar Cedrus libani (8.5 ind./km2), Calabrian Pine Pinus brutia (7.8 ind./km2) and juniper Juniperus spp. (Albayrak et al. 2006, T. Albayrak in litt. 2007). In the Caucasus, it occurs mainly in the zone of spruce Picea forests between 1,000 and 2,000 m, mostly in old stands of Caucasian Fir Abies nordmanniana, but also in pine Pinus forest. Nests in Antalya, south-western Turkey, were found in slightly decayed old tree trunks or cavities already excavated by woodpeckers in natural (non-planted) middle- or old-aged conifer forest (Albayrak and Erdogan 2005a; Albayrak and Erdogan 2005b). The most significant factors limiting breeding success were the felling of dead trees and the occupation of nest sites by Forest Dormouse Dryomys nitedula, bats, bees and other insects (Albayrak and Erdogan 2005a). It feeds largely on insects and spiders in the breeding season and chicks are fed entirely on animal material. In autumn and winter it feeds on the seeds of coniferous trees and will cache food for times of poor weather (Harrap 2008). The species is primarily sedentary but some altitudinal movement occurs in the winter (Tucker and Heath 1994).

In Turkey, forestry is placing considerable pressure on the species's mature coniferous forest habitats (T. Albayrak in litt. 2007). Development for tourism is also a threat, particularly in coastal areas where the species was once numerous (S. Isfendiyaroglu in litt. 2005). A law for the promotion of tourism came into force in Turkey in 2003, further exacerbating the threat from habitat loss (S. Isfendiyaroglu in litt. 2005). Urbanisation and the construction of summer houses is also a growing problem in the Mediterranean part of its range (S. Isfendiyaroglu in litt. 2005).

Conservation and Research Actions Underway
EU Birds Directive Annex I. Bern Convention Appendix II. Studies of various aspects of the species such as its breeding ecology, habitat requirements and population structure have taken place (Albayrak and Erdogan 2006, Thibault et al. 2006, Albayrak et al. 2011).

Conservation and Research Actions Proposed

Develop a Species Action Plan. Develop a monitoring programme to assess population trends. Assess threats to the species and develop appropriate responses. Follow up on ongoing research work and adopt recommendations as appropriate. A recent phylogeographic study suggests that populations in north-west, north-east and southern Turkey are distinct groups which should be treated as separate conservation units (Albayrak et al. 2012).

Albayrak, T. and Erdogan, A. 2006. Breeding ecology of Kruper's nuthatch (Sitta krueperi) near Antalya, Turkey. Israel Journal of Zoology 51(4): 309-314.

Albayrak, T., Besnard, A. and Erdogan, A. 2011. Morphometric Variation and Population Relationships of Krüper's Nuthatch (Sitta krueperi) in Turkey. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 123(4): 734-740.

Albayrak, T., Gonzalez, J., Drovetski, S.V. and Wink, M. 2012. Phylogeography and population structure of Krüper's Nuthatch Sitta krueperi from Turkey based on microsatellites. Journal of Ornithology 153(2): 405-411.

Albayrak, T.; Erdogan, A. 2005. Breeding ecology of Krüper's Nuthatch (Sitta krueperi) near Antalya, Turkey. Israel Journal of Zoology 51: 309-314.

Albayrak, T.; Erdogan, A. 2005. Habitat requirement and the breeding ecology of Kruper's Nuthatch Sitta krueperi in Antalya, Turkey. Alauda 73(3): 279.

BirdLife International. 2004. Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

BirdLife International. 2015. European Red List of Birds. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg.

Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1993. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic vol VII: flycatchers to shrikes. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Harrap, S. 2008. Krueper's Nuthatch (Sitta krueperi). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. and de Juana, E. (eds), Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive, Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Matthysen, E. 1998. Poyser, London, UK.

Thibault, J.-C.; Prodon, R.; Villard, P.; Seguin, J.-F. 2006. Habitat requirements and foraging behaviour of the Corsican Nuthatch Sitta whiteheadi. Journal of Avian Biology 37(5): 477-486.

Tucker, G.M. and Heath, M.F. 1994. Birds in Europe: their conservation status. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Further web sources of information
Detailed regional assessment and species account from the European Red List of Birds (BirdLife International, 2015)

Detailed species account from Birds in Europe: population estimates, trends and conservation status (BirdLife International 2004)

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Pople, R. & Ashpole, J

Albayrak, T., Isfendiyaroglu, S., Mischenko, A. & Shergalin, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Sitta krueperi. Downloaded from on 28/11/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/11/2015.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Krueper's nuthatch (Sitta krueperi) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Sittidae (Nuthatches and Wallcreeper)
Species name author Pelzeln, 1863
Population size 241000-901000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 314,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- 2015 European Red List assessment