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African Blue Tit - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Canary Islands Blue Tit

C. t. teneriffae
Photo by Ingo
Tenerife, January 2003
Cyanistes teneriffae

Parus teneriffae

Identification

11–12 cm (4¼-4¾ in)

  • Blue back, nape, and tail
  • Dark blue-black eyestripe and crown
  • Wings deep greyish blue, with or without a white wingbar
  • White cheeks and forehead
  • Yellow underparts with dark line down the abdomen
C. t. ultramarinus
Photo by mehdhalaouate
Central Morocco, October 2004

Similar species

Blue Tit differs mainly in paler plumage overall.

Regional variation

Populations in western Canary Islands show a narrower wing bar and those in central Canary Islands lack a wing-bar entirely, while subspecies C. t. degener on the eastern Canary Islands has broad white wing-bars, as broad as or broader than north African C. t. ultramarinus.

Distribution

The North African Blue Tit C. t. ultramarinus occur from sea level to 2100 m in the Atlas mountain range of Morocco and Tunisia. Some vagrant birds in winter can easily reach the latitude of 28 dg N in southern contry oasis. C. t. cyrenaicae is found in Libya, while C. t. palmensis, C. t. teneriffae, C. t. ombriosus, and C. t. degener are found in different islands of the Canary Islands.

C. t. degener
Photo by steenl
Fuerteventura, November 2006

Taxonomy

In the past, the genus Cyanistes was included in a broad view of the genus Parus.

Subspecies

Some authors have treated virtually every one of the subspecies listed below as independent full species. Certain other authorities, principally older works up to and including the Howard & Moore 2003 edition, treat the African Blue Tit as several subspecies under Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus.

There are 7 subspecies[1]:

  • C. t. ultramarinus:
  • C. t. cyrenaicae:
  • C. t. palmensis:
  • C. t. teneriffae:
  • C. t. hedwigae:
  • C. t. ombriosus:
  • C. t. degener:

Some authorities treat C. t. degener as synonymous with C. t. ultramarinus.

Habitat

Deciduous and mixed woodlands.

Behaviour

Breeding

It builds a nest from moss, wool, hair and feathers, and 7-8 eggs are laid in April or May.

Diet

Their diet is not well recorded, but presumably similar to Eurasian Blue Tit, typically seeds, insects and nuts.

References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Posts #97 and 98 in this BirdForum thread discuss African Blue Tit
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved November 2014)

Recommended Citation

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