119. Sitta frontalis frontalis

(119) Sitta frontalis frontalis Horsf.
Sitta frontalis frontalis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 132.
This is the most widespread of all our Nuthatches and is found all over well-wooded India and Burma, from the Himalayas in the foot-hills to Ceylon in the extreme South and East to practically the whole of Burma. For those who can separate the Indian and Javan forms into two subspecies ours in India will have to bear the name Sitta frontalis corallina Hodgs., the typical form having been described from Java.
In India the breeding season in the North is May and June, some birds laying in April. In Southern India the usual months are February and March. Miss Cockburn took a nest on the 10th of February in the Nilgiris but Davison records April and May as the most normal breeding months in Southern India. In the Chin Hills Mackenzie found them breeding in the end of April.
They are forest birds haunting both open and dense tree-forest, whilst, occasionally, they may be found nesting on single trees standing in comparatively well-wooded but open country. The hole may be either a natural hole in a dead branch or the trunk of a tree or a deserted nest-hole of a Barbet or Woodpecker. It may be at any height from the ground between 4 and 40 feet but is more often under than over 20. If the hole is small, and such are generally selected, no masonry is added to reduce the size or add to the finish but, occasionally, a good deal of it may be placedabout a hole too big for safety in the opinion of the birds using it. At times the birds will also enlarge entrances to holes not big enough to admit them otherwise. I think this little Nuthatch is most common between the foot-hills and about 2,500 feet, but I have taken its nest as high as 6,000 feet.
The nest is generally a substantial pad of moss, green or dry, with another pad of fur above that. A feature of this Nuthatch’s nest is the very frequent inclusion of feathers both as lining and mixed in the lower pad of moss. Once or twice I have seen the lining composed of feathers alone but most birds use fur of some kind as the staple lining.
The birds sit very close but the nest is often given away by the restless little male, who will run all about the nesting-tree uttering his shrill little musical “cheep” all the time. I do not think they feed on the nesting-tree but, whenever the male returns to visit his wife, he always precedes his visit to the nest with a run round the premises first, squeaking all the time.
In Southern India the number of eggs in a clutch is three or four, in Northern India four or five. They are like small, rather broad and rather richly marked eggs of the castanea group, and some of them, with large red blotches, are very like Tits’ eggs, rather than normal Nuthatches’. They are quite glossless.
Fifty eggs average 17.2 x 13.2 mm. : maxima 18.0 x 13.4 and 17.9 x 13.8 mm. ; minima 16.0 x 12.3 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
119. Sitta frontalis frontalis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Velvet Fronted Nuthatch
Sitta frontalis frontalis
Vol. 1
Term name: 

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