Nuthatch-Vanga Hypositta corallirostris

Satoshi Yamagishi, Masahiko Nakamura, David Christie, and Thomas S. Schulenberg
Version: 2.0 — Published July 16, 2020


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A small, highly distinctive vanga. The body is slightly chunky, the bill and tail are relatively short, and, in keeping with its tree-climbing habits, the claw of the first toe is elongated (20 mm). The male has a narrow black band across the forecrown, lores, and chin. The rest of the plumage is almost entirely mid-blue . The bill is bright orange-red,. The female has a brownish green head, lacking the clear black eyestripe, but the forecrown is buffy forecrown. The rest of the upperparts are blue, but somewhat duller than the male, and the bill also is duller red than that of the male.

Similar Species

Nuthatch-Vanga is highly distinctive. Its small size, tree-climbing behavior, bright red bill, and blue upperparts all contribute to making this a bird that is all but unmistakable in the field.



Juvenile resembles adult female, but the underparts are tinged with blue-gray.


Female. Forecrown to nape ochraceous brown, nape and neck tinged with grayish blue-green. Narrow whitish band through lores. Rest of upperparts grayish blue-green, with ochraceous brown feather bases showing through on the rump and uppertail coverts. Remiges gray-brown; outer webs of secondaries grayish blue-green, tertials and wing coverts grayish blue-green. Rectrices grayish blue-green above, dark gray-brown below. Auriculars and sides of the neck ochraceous brown. Entire underparts ochraceous brown.

Male. Narrow black band across forecrown (just above the base of the bill), extending across the lores and to the chin. Body plumage otherwise almost entirely grayish blue. Remiges blackish brown, outer webs of primaries and secondaries grayish blue; tertials, alula, and wing coverts grayish blue. Rectrices grayish blue above; underside blackish.

Plumage descriptions based on 1.


Very little information. The nature and timing of molts are undescribed.

Bare Parts


Bill is bright orange-red , with a slightly darker tip to the culmen.

Iris and Facial Skin

Iris is very dark brown, or mid-brown (1).

Tarsi and Toes

Dark gray.


Total length: 13-14 cm (2, 3)

Wing length (flat):

  • male, mean 79.6 mm (range 76-82 mm; n = 10, 1)
  • female, mean 77.7 mm (range 76-80 mm; n = 9, 1)

Tail length:

  • male, mean 56.1 mm (range 54-58 mm; n = 10, 1)
  • female, mean 55.6 mm (range 53-59 mm; n = 9, 1)

Bill length (exposed culmen):

  • male, mean 14.3 mm (range 13.5-15 mm; n = 10, 1)
  • female, mean 14.0 mm (range 13-15 mm; n = 9, 1)

Tarsus length:

  • male, mean 19.0 mm (range 18.5-20 mm; n = 10, 1)
  • female, mean 18.4 mm (range 18-19.5 mm; n = 9, 1)


  • male, 15.2 (n = 1, 4)
  • female, 13 g (n = 1, 4)
  • sexes combined, mean 14.1 ± 0.9 g (range 13.5-15.5 g; n = 4, 5)

Recommended Citation

Yamagishi, S., M. Nakamura, D. A. Christie, and T. S. Schulenberg (2020). Nuthatch-Vanga (Hypositta corallirostris), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.nuthat2.02