Nuthatches 1

Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch
Wondering where the nuthatch winters
Wings a mile long
Just carried the bird away

Eyes of the World by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter
© Ice Nine Publishing

True Nuthatches can be found in three ecozones, Indomalaya, Palearctic and Nearctic, with most species present in the Indomalaya zone. The IOC World Bird List assigns 28 species to the Sitta genus.

Sitta is assigned to Linneaus (of course) while the name was used by Conrad Gessner in reference to Aristotle‘s Sittē in his Historia animalium. The latter described nuthatches as follows: ‘The bird called sitta is quarrelsome, but clever and tidy, makes its living with ease, and for its knowingness is regarded as uncanny; it has a numerous brood, of which it is fond, and lives by pecking the bark of trees’ (transl. D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, 1910). This reference could be to any of the three species found around the Greece of Aristotle: Eurasian Nuthatch, Krüper’s Nuthatch and Western Rock Nuthatch.

The 28 species translate as follows.