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Krueper's Nuthatch Sitta krueperi

This species is classified as Near Threatened because it is suspected to have undergone a moderately rapid decline over the last ten years as a result of the conversion and degradation of its mature coniferous forest habitats (Cramp and Perrins 1993; Matthysen 1998).

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
Sitta krueperi 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 80,000-170,000 pairs, with the majority - an estimated 60,000-120,000 breeding pairs - in Turkey (BirdLife International 2004). Although the small population in Greece is believed to have remained stable (at c.700-1000 individuals (HOS in litt. 2008)), the populations in Turkey and Russia - which together constitute over 95% of the known global population - both declined during 1990-2000 (BirdLife International 2004). 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 to number 80,000-170,000 breeding pairs, equating to 240,000-510,000 individuals (BirdLife International 2004).

Trend justification
The species is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline, owing to habitat loss and degradation (BirdLife International 2004).

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 black pine Pinus nigra (average density: 12.7 individuals/km2), fir Abies cilicica (11.6 ind./km2), cedar Cedrus libani (8.5 ind./km2), red 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).

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 Actions Underway
EU Birds Directive Annex I. Conservation 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.

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.; 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.

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.

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

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.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Sitta krueperi. Downloaded from on 02/09/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 02/09/2015.

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 Near Threatened
Family Sittidae (Nuthatches and Wallcreeper)
Species name author Pelzeln, 1863
Population size 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