Pygmy Nuthatch
(Sitta pygmaea)


Picture of bird
© Jukka Jantunen
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

In Canada, the Pygmy Nuthatch occurs only in southern British Columbia where it is locally common in ponderosa pine forests. It is not well monitored in Canada, but available data from local Christmas Bird Counts in British Columbia suggest that populations have shown little overall change since the late 1970s. There are ongoing concerns about habitat degradation from past logging activities, forest management and recent insect infestations. This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Listing of the main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least Concern2012 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2010 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic areaStatusReliability
CanadaLittle ChangeMedium

Population estimate

Canada50,000 to 500,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence


Responsibility for conservation of world population


Conservation and management

Pygmy Nuthatches are closely tied to ponderosa pine forests throughout most of their range. These forests cover less than 1% of British Columbia's land area (Austin and Eriksson 2009), and their quality throughout western North America is thought to have decreased significantly over the past century as a result of logging, fire suppression and other processes (Kingery and Ghalambor 2001). In Canada, there are concerns over the impact of the recent widespread loss of ponderosa pine through pine beetle attack, particularly in the Thompson Valley (Klenner and Arsenault 2009). 


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Great BasinGreat Basin, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon Region
Northern RockiesNorthern Rockies, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon Region