Monday, 5 December 2011

Velvet-fronted Nuthatch

Velvet-fronted nuthatch
            Most people would hold the woodpeckers as the best walkers on trees. Those birds can move along the trunks like lizards with their head always pointing upwards. But, imagine a bird which has far superior gravity defying acts !! - A bird which can move upwards and downwards regardless of the position of its head !! A bird which can move along the barks with unmatched easiness and that too without using its tail for support !!!  Well, you don’t have to go anywhere else to find those. Nuthatches can surprise you with their remarkable ability. In Kerala, you can spot 2 types of nuthatches – velvet-fronted nuthatches (Sitta frontalis) and chestnut-bellied nuthatches. The first one frequents open evergreen forests while the second one prefers dry forests. A bundle of energy, the velvet-fronted nuthatches are extremely vocal and you can readily recognize their ‘sit sit sit’ call if they are around.  They have the size of a small sparrow. However, they are slimmer than the sparrows. Powered by strong claws, they can walk around the trunks and twigs in whatever way they wanted. Its always fun to watch these birds’ actions. They can even make a walk around a branch. Flight is short and bouncy.
Velvet-fronted nuthatch male

Velvet-fronted nuthatch male
            The velvet-fronted nuthatches feed on a variety of insects, spiders and on small seeds (the name, ‘nuthatch’ might have got from their ability to break open the nuts). All their acrobatics are in search of these. These birds prefer to forage along with a hunting party. You won’t notice these little beauties very easily. Most of the time, they will be in shadows and once the sunlight falls on them, the brilliant colours flashes before our eyes. I still remember the first time I saw these birds at Arippa. They were very high upon some tall tree and I was amazed watching those silhouettes. 

Velvet-fronted nuthatch female


  1. Kicakss bokeh in the shots biju! A tough bird to get a good shot ,as they keep jumping around!