Corsican Nuthatch

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Common Name: Corsican Nuthatch
Scientific Name: Sitta whiteheadi

Size: 4.7 inches (12cm)

Habitat: Europe; France (endemic to Corsica). It has a limited and fragmented breeding range which follows the distribution of Corsican pine (Pinus nigra laricio,) occuring on inland mountain ridges from Tartagine south to Ospedale and Mt Cagna, with main concentrations around the mountains of Cinto, Rotondo, Renoso and Incudine.

Status: Threatened. Global Population: 3,100 - 4,400 Mature individuals and decreasing. Forest fires and logging of mature Corsican pine stands appear to be the primary threats to this species. Large trees suitable for the species are also favored by the logging industry and since the 1970s local foresters have attempted to rejuvenate the pine forest by shortening the logging rotation, reducing the size of trees available for the species. It has been estimated that 78-122 territories have been destroyed by logging since 1998, and that a further 50-63 territories were lost during the large forest fires of 2000 and 2003, which severely affected another 47-80 territories. Recovery of this habitat will be hampered by the slow growth rate of the Corsican pine. This species is potentially susceptible to climate change through sea-level rise and shifts in suitable climatic conditions. Climate change may also cause an increase in fire frequency.

No conservation action is known, though its national status of “Near Threatened” in France may afford some protection. Almost the entire global population occurs within the Natural Regional Park of Corse.

Diet: Insects and seeds, especially those of the Corsican Pine, which are stored in food caches.

Breeding: Nests in holes in old Corsican Pines, which are usually self-excavated. Five to eight eggs are laid, white speckled with red.

Cool Facts: The Corsican Nuthatch is the only nuthatch found in Corsica.

Found in Songbird ReMix Threatened, Endangered, Extinct 3

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