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Eurasian Blue Tit

From Opus

(Redirected from Blue Tit)

Alternative names: Blue Tit; Common Blue Tit; European Blue Tit

Adult. Photo by Nigel BlakeBedfordshire, UK, December 2006
Adult. Photo by Nigel Blake
Bedfordshire, UK, December 2006
Cyanistes caeruleus

Parus caeruleus


[edit] Identification

11–12 cm (4¼-4¾ in)

  • Yellow and green
  • Blue cap
  • White face
  • Black eye stripe

[edit] Distribution

The commonest European tit, abundant and widespread across much of the Western Palearctic. Breeds in the British Isles, France, and Iberia east to Caspian reaching north to about 67 degrees north in Norway and 62 degrees north in Russia. Occurs along the whole of the northern coast of the Mediterranean and most of the major islands, over most of Turkey (except southeast), the southern Crimea and the Caucasus. Vagrant to Malta and on Mount Hermon in Israel.

Mainly resident but irruptive in parts of range and an altitudinal migrant in others.

Nominate subspecies caeruleus is a rare but regular winter visitor to Britain.

[edit] Taxonomy

Juvenile Photo by stevelinIreland, June 2010
Photo by stevelin
Ireland, June 2010

Birds breeding in the Canary Islands, across northwest Africa and in northeast Libya are now separated as African Blue Tit (Cyanistes teneriffae)

[edit] Subspecies

There are 9 subspecies[1]:

  • Nominate race caeruleus is found across much of Europe from north Spain to Russia, north to Scandinavia and south to Greece.
  • Fractionally smaller British Isles race obscurus is greener above with duller white wing-markings.
  • Race ogliastrae from southern Iberia, Corsica, and Sardinia has duller upperparts and deeper yellow below.
  • Balearic race balearicus has paler, greyer upperparts and whiter belly.
  • Race satunini from Crimea, the Caucasus, Transcaucasia and Turkey is close to nominate but slightly paler above and below.
  • Southern Greece and Greek islands race calamensis is similar in plumage but slightly smaller.
  • orientalis from Urals is paler above than nominate but clearer yellow, less green-tinged below.
  • Additional races are raddei and persicus, both of which occur in Iran.

Hybridizes with Azure Tit where ranges overlap.

Photo by John CrabbSomerset, April 2011
Photo by John Crabb
Somerset, April 2011

[edit] Habitat

Mainly deciduous woodland, often in mixed woods but does not commonly feed in conifers. Also hedgerows, copses and very frequently in gardens and town parks. In winter occurs in reedbeds and areas of scrub, usually feeds high in trees and bushes and common visitor to garden birdtables.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

Very acrobatic while it searches for seeds, insects, nuts etc. In winter forms large flocks with other tits.

[edit] Breeding

Will nest in nestholes inside trees or nestboxes. The nest is built by the female alone, however, the male feeds the female while she is incubating the eggs. The clutch consists of 7-12 white eggs with brownish-red markings. Incubation takes 13-15 days, the young fledging after a further 18-21 days. Both adults care for the young.

[edit] Vocalisation

Call: 2-3 Tsee notes followed by trill, which can be heard all year round.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from
  2. Bird Watching Magazine
  3. BTO

[edit] External Links


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