Sombre tit

Parus lugubris

SUBFAMILY

Parinae

TAXONOMY

Parus lugubris Temminck, 1820. Five subspecies. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Mésange lugubre; German: Trauermeise; Spanish: Carbonero Lúgubre.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5.5 in (14 cm); 0.5-0.7 oz (15-19 g); general plumage color typical of the 'black-capped' tits; sexes similar.

DISTRIBUTION

P. l. lugubris: Balkans and Greece; P. l. anatoliae: Greek island of Lesbos, Asia Minor, southern Transcaucasia, Levant and northern Iraq. P. l. hyrcanus: southeast Transcaucasia and northern Iran; P. l. dubius: southwest Iran and northeast Iraq; P. l. kirmanensis: southern Iran.

HABITAT

Open broadleaf and conifer woodlands, parkland, orchards, gardens, vineyards, and scrub habitats at higher elevations including olive (Olea) groves.

BEHAVIOR

Resident and largely sedentary. Seasonally territorial with members of pair remaining together throughout year, but may join mixed-species flocks. Song bouts short and infrequent.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forages throughout crowns of trees and shrubs, and on ground. Diet is large range of invertebrates and some seeds. Unlike many other tits, does not store food.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nests in cavities in trees or occasionally rocks; uses nest-boxes. Most subspecies use existing cavities, but P. l. hyrcanus excavates own nest cavity (both sexes taking part). Eggs laid March through April, with second clutches May through June. Clutch size five to 10 eggs (average is seven). Incubation: 12-14 days, by female alone. Brood period to fledging: 21-23 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Has a relatively restricted range and occurs at low breeding densities, but population size in European part of range estimated to be 130,000-640,000 pairs, about 75% of world population.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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