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Willow or Marsh Tit, Sweden (1 Viewer)

Enji

Well-known member
Yes, it's another one of those "willow or marsh" things! Yay! o:)

This bird confused me today. Amongst about 3 or 4 Marsh Tits this one really stood out, looking quite different. My first impression was Willow Tit, but then I got a bit uncertain. Most Willow Tits I've seen have been greyer (although this one was clearly greyer than the Marsh Tits around), and easier to separate, and the cap does look glossy on one of the photos. However, it was very sunny so pretty much all birds looked shiny, might have been that. I did not notice any light spot on the beak. (Note that it's got a seed in the beak in the second pic.)

Should note that both species are present at the location, but Marsh Tit is the more common one. We're in Uppland, Sweden, just north of Stockholm.

I know the photos aren't really that good, but maybe someone who's better than me at separating these than me can see something I missed? Don't have any more photos unfortunately.
 

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the bib appears to be large at the base,and the pale wing panel would suggest willow tit

The greyish colouration and the bull-necked impression suggest Willow Tit to me.

Sorry to be a nuisance, but haven't these features been largely discredited for use in Marsh/Willow Tit identification? This bird is intermediate so I wouldn't try to do it using these features alone, though not entirely sure of the recommended features myself. However, a pale cutting edge to the bill indicates Marsh Tit I think, and I'm not sure but the first photo suggests there might be one. Maybe other's can provide a consensus on this.
 
Sorry to be a nuisance, but haven't these features been largely discredited for use in Marsh/Willow Tit identification? This bird is intermediate so I wouldn't try to do it using these features alone, though not entirely sure of the recommended features myself. However, a pale cutting edge to the bill indicates Marsh Tit I think, and I'm not sure but the first photo suggests there might be one. Maybe other's can provide a consensus on this.

true
the call is the best id feature, if i have to see the 'pale cutting edge to the bill' just to id a tit then im giving up birding;)
 
Sorry to be a nuisance, but haven't these features been largely discredited for use in Marsh/Willow Tit identification? This bird is intermediate so I wouldn't try to do it using these features alone, though not entirely sure of the recommended features myself. However, a pale cutting edge to the bill indicates Marsh Tit I think, and I'm not sure but the first photo suggests there might be one. Maybe other's can provide a consensus on this.

The extensive white 'cheek' on this bird, which adds to the bull-necked appearance makes it a Willow according to the thread linked to above. I also stand by the greyish colouration; this bird is in central Sweden so will be of the race borealis which from my experience is a colder grey colouration than British Willow Tits. Still a solid Willow for me.
 
I agree, it's a Willow Tit. In addition to the features that have already been mentioned, note the contrastingly dark centres of the greater coverts (on Marsh Tit the greater coverts have usually much plainer centres). Scandinavian Marsh Tits are browner than British birds, whereas Scandinavian Willow Tits are greyer than British.

Marsh Tit has a roundish pale spot at the base of the upper mandible above the cutting edge, whereas in the first picture of the subject bird you actually see the inside of the lower mandible.
 
I've had a Willow/Marsh Tit on and off my feeder for 2 days in the past. I had 3 guides in front of me, my bins (even though the little chap was 3 yards away) and instant access to the profs on here. I still have no idea which of the two birds it was and I decided there and then that it doesn't matter, I'm never going to be able to tell them apart and that's just going to have to be fine.
 
Should note that both species are present at the location, but Marsh Tit is the more common one. We're in Uppland, Sweden, just north of Stockholm.

Willow for me. This side of the Baltic at least, it seems both Willows and Marsh are in very good numbers this winter, some movement taking place.

At my feeders, Marsh are common all year, Willows usually just ones and twos later in the winter, but already three Willows at one feeder. Looking good for an excellent seasona ahead.
 
Thanks for all the answers! Willow Tit it is then. Maybe I should trust my first impressions a bit more, but it is very easy to start doubting yourself... :)
 
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