Female © Renuka Vijayaraghavan
Male © Kannan AS
Male © Bhaskar pandeti
Female © Ravi naidu

Indian Nuthatch Sitta castanea

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Only nuthatch in most of its range with gray upperparts and brick-red underparts. From crown to upper mantle, the gray is a lighter shade than the remainder of the upperparts. Strong dark eye-stripe starts from the bill, broadening toward the sides of the neck, contrasting with the white throat. Female is similar but has lighter chestnut underparts and dirty white on the throat. In a narrow zone where it overlaps with the very similar Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Indian differs in the contrastingly paler crown and nape, the smaller bill, and the lack of white scallops on the vent. Primarily seen in deciduous forests; occurs in pairs or family groups, sometimes along with Velvet-fronted Nuthatches, with which it broadly overlaps in range. Call is a loud, mellow, rapid trill of 7-8 notes: “pi-pi-pi-pi-pi-pi.”