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Yunnan Nuthatch Sitta yunnanensis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has a moderately small range, within which it is patchily distributed, and consequently it is thought to have a small global population size. Numbers are suspected to be declining owing to habitat loss, although it is apparently tolerant of some levels of habitat degradation; the species is therefore considered Near Threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

12 cm. Small nuthatch with long, broad black mask and narrow white supercilium. Similar spp. Combination of size, supercilium, grey crown and uniform whitish underparts (including undertail-coverts), with only faint pale pinkish-buff wash, rule out other nuthatches in same range. Juveniles have narrower mask and shorter supercilium. Voice Calls include nasal kni, pi, tit and toik notes (former two often repeated) and harsh, scolding schri-schri-schri.., sometimes grading to strident, nasal ziew-ziew-ziew...

Distribution and population
Sitta yunnanensis is known from south-east Tibet, southern Sichuan and northern Yunnan, and the western extreme of Guizhou, China. It is locally common, but it has disappeared from several of the localities where it was recorded in the early 20th century.

Population justification
The population size of this species has not been quantified, but it is described as locally common.

Trend justification
A moderate and on-going population decline is suspected to be occurring as a result of habitat degradation and clearance.

This species occurs in open mature pine forest (avoiding other types of coniferous forest) with little undergrowth or scrub, mainly from 2,400-3,400 m.

This species is presumably continuing to decline as a result of logging and forest fires, although it does appear able to adapt to degraded and secondary forest.

Conservation Actions Underway

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct repeated surveys within the range to determine current distribution and abundance, as well as assess population trends and rates of habitat loss. Conduct ecological studies to improve understanding of its precise habitat requirements, particularly tolerance of secondary habitats and response to fragmentation. Effectively protect significant areas of suitable forest at key sites.

BirdLife International. 2001. Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2008. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 13: Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

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
Benstead, P., Gilroy, J., Khwaja, N.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Sitta yunnanensis. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

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 - Yunnan nuthatch (Sitta yunnanensis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Sittidae (Nuthatches and Wallcreeper)
Species name author Ogilvie-Grant, 1900
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 170,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species