Persian or Eastern Rock Nuthatches

Nuthatches
Western Rock Nuthatch

Information provided by: Avian Contributor: Jeannine Miesle



Distribution

The Persian Nuthatch, sometimes called the Eastern Rock-Nuthatch (Sitta tephronota) is found in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, India, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan.

There are an estimated 43,000–100,000 of this species in Europe.


Habitat

This bird lives in arid, rocky mountain slopes, river gorges, and the semi-desert. During breeding season it prefers riverbanks or tree holes.


Description

The Eastern-rock Nuthatch possesses grayish upper parts and whitish underparts. Its rump is somewhat pink. Its upperparts and tail are a pale blue-gray. Its long black eye stripe broadens as it moves behind the eye. Its black bill is long and thick. The underparts are lightly shaded, with a pale white chin and breast grading to pale orange flanks and undertail coverts.

Larger that the Western-rock Nuthatch, the Eastern reaches 16–18 cm (6.25–7 in) in length.


Feeding

Rock Nuthatches forage in the same way as the woodland species, but these birds seek food on rock faces and buildings instead of in forests. When breeding, a pair of Nuthatches will only feed within their territory, but at other times will join flocks of tits or mixed-species feeding flocks.

Its favorite foods are insects, spiders, and snails.


Nesting

The nest built by the Eastern-rock Nuthatch is similar to, but less complicated than, the Western-rock’s nest; it is not as ornate across the entrance to a cavity. Although it is small, the nest can be quite heavy.

This species will also nest in riverbanks or tree holes and will enlarge its nest hole if the cavity is too small. It lines the nest cavity with clay packed into a crack in the cliff face or under a ledge. Even though this is similar to the Western Rock-Nuthatch’s nest, it has a longer entrance tunnel and a wider hole. It packs in mostly seeds instead of insects.

The female lays 5-7 white eggs with red-brown markings.


Vocalizations

A noisy bird, the Eastern-rock calls and sings from the tops of rocks or bushes as it hops from place to place



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