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Marsh Tit - BirdForum Opus

Nominate subspecies
Photo © by Adey Baker
Burbage Wood, Leicestershire, UK. 12 January 2008
Poecile palustris

Parus palustris


11–13 cm (4¼-5 in)
Large shiny black cap, small black bib. grey brown upperparts, dull buff underneath. Often has pale spot on upper mandible at base of bill as opposed to just pale edges as seen on Willow Tit. Cheek may have clear 'rusty looking' demarkation nearing the nape. Usually neat and dapper looking as opposed to the scruffy looking Willow Tit.

P. p. palustris showing colour change to cheek patch and pale spot on upper mandible
Photo © by James Thomas
Redhouse, North Yorkshire, UK, 22 January 2011

Similar Species

Very similar to Willow Tit.


Europe and Asia:


Until recently, all Tit species were believed to belong to the same genus, Parus. Since then, research results appeared which made it more likely that the correct treatment was to divide the Tit/Chickadee species into several genera; Marsh Tit thereby became a member of the genus Poecile. Black-bibbed Marsh Tit (Poecile hypermelaena) is a recent split from the regular Marsh Tit.


Photo © by Macswede
Sörfjärden, Sweden, 6 July 2014

There are 8 subspecies[1]:

  • P. p. palustris:
  • P. p. stagnatilis:
  • P. p. kabardensis:
  • Caucasus Mountains
  • P. p. italicus:
  • P. p. brevirostris:
Photo © by Digiscoper321
West Sweden, 15 February 2012
  • P. p. ernsti:
  • Sakhalin
  • P. p. hensoni:
  • Northern Japan (southern Kuril Islands and Hokkaido)
  • P. p. hellmayri:
  • Southern and eastern China (Sichuan to Liaoning) and southern Korea


Prefers deciduous woodland.



Moss and grass cup in existing hole either in tree or wall.


It eats mainly insects in summer, seeds and berries in autumn and winter. Will use feeders.


Its voice is a most distinctive sneezing sound.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Brazil, M. (2009). Birds of East Asia. Princeton Univ. Press.
  3. Eck, S., & Martens, J. (2006). Systematic notes on Asian birds. 49. A preliminary review of the Aegithalidae, Remizidae and Paridae. Zoologische Mededelingen, 80:1-63.
  4. Gosler, A., Clement, P. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2017). Marsh Tit (Poecile palustris). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/59859 on 24 June 2017).
  5. Harrap, S. & Quinn. D. (1995) Chickadees, Tits, Nuthatches & Treecreepers. Princeton Univ. Press.
  6. Scott G.W. (1999) Separation of marsh tits parus palustris and willow tits parus montanus, Ringing & Migration, 19:4, 323-326, DOI: 10.1080/03078698.1999.9674201

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