Velvet-fronted Nuthatch taking a spider

posted in: Feeding-invertebrates | 1

The Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (Sitta frontalis) is an attractive bird with its bright violet-blue plumage, a black patch on its crown and red bill. It is a resident of Malaysia but an extremely rare non-breeding visitor to Singapore, seen only a few times within the 1990s.

This is a forest bird, found actively along tree trunks, less frequently on branches and occasionally on fallen logs. It moves down vertical surface head first and can even be seen hanging upside down.

According to Adrian Lim who photographed it catching a spider, it moved almost down to the ground, then up again. It caught the spider, paused for a few seconds and then moved upwards along the tree trunk.

The bill is well adapted for probing and praising off surface bark fragments. “Probably, most food is taken direct from surfaces; but none has been identified.” – so reports Wells (2007).

Harrap (2008) has more information of food, reporting insects and small invertebrates like spiders. Snails, seeds, nuts have also been reported.

The above image by Adrian Lim shows the nuthatch catching a spider during its forage along the tree trunk.

This post is a cooperative effort between and BESG to bring the study of bird behaviour through photography to a wider audience.

Harrap, S., 2008. Family Sittidae (Nuthatchers). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A. & D. A. Christie. eds. Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol.135. Peduline-tits to shrikes. Lynx Editions, Barcelona. Pp. 102-145.
2. Wells, D.R., 2007. The birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsular. Vol. II, Passerines. Christopher Helm, London. 800 pp.

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