Siberian tit

Parus cinctus

SUBFAMILY

Parinae

TAXONOMY

Parus cinctus Boddaert, 1783. Four subspecies. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Gray-headed chickadee, Taiga tit; French: Mésange lapone; German: Lapplandmeise; Spanish: Carbonero Lapón.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5.3 in (13.5 cm); 0.4-0.6 oz (11-16 g), males larger than females; general plumage color typical of the 'brown-capped' tits; sexes similar.

DISTRIBUTION

Unique within the Paridae as it occurs in both the Old and New Worlds. P. c. lapponicus: Fenno-Scandia east to northern European Russia; P. c. cinctus: Siberia from Urals east to Bering Sea, and south to Lake Baykal, northeast Mongolia and northeast China; P. c. sayanus: central Asia; P. c. lathami: Alaska and northwest Canada.

HABITAT

Boreal conifer forests and broadleaf woodland within these forests, the latter more so in winter.

BEHAVIOR

Largely sedentary, although some populations nomadic during winter months. Adults territorial, but readily forms mixed-species flocks outside of breeding season, often associated with willow tit, Parus montanus. Song simple and infrequent, not given in display.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forages predominantly amongst leaves of trees, but explores all parts of tree and frequently forages on the ground. Diet is a variety of invertebrates and seeds; food stored throughout the year at ends of twigs, in cracks in bark and among lichens. Estimated that each bird may store up to 7 lb (15 kg) of food per year, but needs only 15% of this to survive over the winter period.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nests in cavities in trees. Single clutch of six to 10 eggs laid May through June. Incubation: 15-18 days by female only. Brood period to fledging is 19-20 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

A common, widespread species. The total European population estimated to be 170,000-1,200,000 pairs, but this represents only a small proportion of total world population. Range in northwest Europe has receded northward in twentieth century due to changes in forestry practice, loss of habitat, and possibly climate warming.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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