Alternative names: Severtzov's Tit-Warbler; Stoliczka's Tit-Warbler
- Leptopoecile sophiae
8.5 - 10cm. A tiny, unmistakable bird with a relatively long, graduated tail.
- Uncrested rufous crown
- Broad pale supercilium
- Brownish-grey mantle
- Bluish rump and tail
- Purplish flanks and vent
Males are richly coloured, females much duller.
Juveniles are duller and much paler, more pinkish below, the front of the face is white and the cap rufous.
The subspecies major and stoliczkae are much paler than the nominate and obscurus.
Found in the mountains of central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan), the mountains of China and in parts of the Himalaya (Pakistan, India, Nepal). In winter also recorded in Uzbekistan.
Locally common but absent from some suitable areas and declining at least in Kazakhstan.
Four subspecies recognized:
- L. s. sophiae in the mountains of southeast Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, in northwest China, northern Pakistan and northwest India
- L. s. obscurus in the trans-Himalayan region of central Nepal, south and southeast Tibet, Qinghai east to southern Gansu and northwest Sichuan (China)
- L. s. major in western China (western Xinjiang and northern Qinghai)
- L. s. stoliczkae in western China (southern Xinjiang, western Qinghai and extreme western Tibet
These four subspecies can be divided in two groups, the darker nominate and obscurus and the paler major and stoliczkae. They might be ecological separated. If this can be confirmed a future split seems possible.
Montane forest, scrub and thickets.
In summer recorded up to 5000m, in winter also in plains (400-500m).
Feeds on small insects and spiders. In autumn and winter takes also berries and seeds.
An active and agile bird, foraging among herbs and shrubs, sometimes even on the ground.
After breeding season often seen in family parties and in winter occasionally in mixed-species flocks.
Breeding season in Tien Shan from mid-May to mid-June. The nest is an oval ball made of moss, thin stalks, spider cocoons, lichen and other plant material. It's usually well concealed in scrub and often placed low above the ground. Lays 4 to 8 eggs.
In parts of its range resident, in others winter dispersal recorded, especially in hard winters.
- Clements, JF. 2011. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to August 2011. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019. Spreadsheet available at http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
- Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2008. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 13: Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553453
- Rasmussen, PC and JC Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334672
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