[order] Passeriformes | [family] Sittidae | [latin] Sitta whiteheadi | [UK] Corsican Nuthatch | [FR] Sittelle corse | [DE] Korsenkleiber | [ES] Trepador corso | [IT] Picchio muratore corso | [NL] Corsicaanse Boomklever

Corsicaanse Boomklever determination

No film available

10-15% smaller and noticeably slighter than Nuthatch, with proportionately finest bill, longest-looking head (due to linear plumage pattern), and shortest tail of west Palearctic Sitta. Noticeably small, rather slight nuthatch. Essentially grey and white, adult ( having sharply demarcated black crown and eye-stripe contrasting dramatically with otherwise white face; outer tail-feathers black tipped white. ) has dusky-blue crown and eye-stripe.

The Corsican nuthatch main habitat is the Corsican pine forest. During breeding, birds forage mainly in trees, although one quarter fly-catch from a perch. During winter birds forage mainly in trees. During breeding, birds visit mainly branches, trunks and lichens when foraging in vegetation. During winter, birds foraged mostly on pine cones, trunks and branches. The top was visited marginally, whereas the nuthatches foraged mainly in the following zones : centre of crown, transition trunk-crown, and periphery of the crown. This optimal use of resources in Corsican pine habitat allows the adult Corsican nuthatch to be sedentary.

Sitta whiteheadi is endemic to Europe, where it is confined to the island of Corsica (France). Its European breeding population is small (as few as 1,500 pairs), but was stable between 1970-1990. Although the species remained stable during 1990-2000, its population size still renders it susceptible to the risks affecting small populations, and consequently it is evaluated as Rare.
This bird is endemic to Corsica, where it inhabits almost exclusively old forests of indigenous conifers. Its population amounts 2.000-3.000 breeding pairs, and seems quite stable. The species remains vulnerable

In winter, seems to feed mainly on seeds (especially Corsican pine) until May, then on insects and spiders until August. Caches food, almost exclusively seeds of Corsican pine, which are hidden behind bark or laid on thick branches and covered with small pieces of bark or lichen. Food-caching probably crucial for survival, when pine cones are closed in snow of early spring preventing access to seeds.

Sitta whiteheadi is endemic to Corsica, France. It has a limited and fragmented breeding range which follows the distribution of Corsican pine Pinus nigra laricio in the central mountain chain. This covers c.450 km2 from Melaja to Ospédale forests, although the actual area of pure forest is limited to c.210 km2 (Tucker and Heath 1994). Small numbers are also found in the Castagniccia ridges and possibly in Cagna Fir forest (Thibault and Bonaccorsi 1999). Optimal habitat is old stands of Corsican pine with abundant dead and rotting trunks for nest sites, at elevations of 1,000-1,500 m. Densities vary between 0.2-3.8 pairs/10 ha, and correlate with tree height, vegetation density and dead tree distribution (Thibault and Bonaccorsi 1999). Suboptimal habitats include forests, where Corsican pine is associated with cluster pine P. pinaster, balsam fir Abies alba or beech Fagus sylvatica, and younger, exploited stands of Corsican pine at elevations of 600-1,700 m (Thibault and Bonaccorsi 1999). It is generally sedentary except for some dispersal of immature and unmated birds to lower altitudes in winter. Dispersing birds may be found in holm oak Quercus ilex and sweet chestnut Castanea sativa forests, gardens and orchards (Thibault and Bonaccorsi 1999). Factors limiting local distribution and population are forest burning and a lack of nest sites as a result of the felling of older, dead or rotten trees in commercially managed forests and occasional avalanches. However, less than a third of Corsican pine is intensively managed and forest fires are uncommon at high altitudes (Tucker and Heath 1994). It has a global population estimated to be 3,000-9,000 individuals (BirdLife International in prep.), but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population size criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. less than 10,000 mature individuals in conjunction with appropriate decline rates and subpopulation qualifiers). Global population trends have not been quantified, but populations appear to be stable (Snow and Perrins 1998) so the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Eggs are laid end of April to sstart of June. Usually large- or medium-sized Corsican pine, typically with only partial or no bark. No plastering of nest-hole. Foundation of pine needles, wood chips, or bark fragments lined with hair, plant fibres, feathers, moss, or lichen. re-occupation of territories occurs very frequently and the birds often use the same nesting tree. Clutch size 4-6 eggs, Incubation period not known, but hatching mid- to late May. Chicks fledge after 22-24 days. There are no second clutches, but sometimes a replacement clutch is laid. Research found a correlation between the abundance of pine cones and the onset of breeding: the higher the number of cones available on the territories the previous winter, the earlier the breeding occurs.

Chiefly sedentary. Breeding pairs highly territorial throughout year.