Sultan tit

Melanochlora sultanea

SUBFAMILY Parinae

TAXONOMY

Melanochlora sultanea Hodgson, 1837. Four subspecies.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Mésange sultane; German: Sultanmeise; Spanish: Carbonero Sultan.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

8 in (20.5 cm); 1.2-1.7 oz (34-49 g); the largest of the tits, with striking yellow and glossy black plumage in males; duller in females.

DISTRIBUTION

M. s. sultanea: eastern Himalayas, northeastern India, Myanmar, northern Thailand; M. s. flavocristata: southern Myanmar, Malaysia, Sumatra; M. s. seorsa: southern China, Hainan, northern Indochina; M. s. gayeti: central Vietnam, southern Laos.

HABITAT

Wide variety of forest types, preferring light evergreen forests and forest edges. Found mainly below 3,200 ft (1,000 m), but recorded in mountainous areas up to 6,600 ft (2,000 m).

BEHAVIOR

Resident. During breeding, found in pairs and probably territorial. Outside of breeding season, forms small flocks, often mixing with other species. Song is series of loud, clear whistles, and a variety of other calls are also given.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forages mostly in upper canopy, but in some habitats (e.g., bamboo) will forage close to ground. Foods include invertebrates, fruits and seeds.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Poorly known. Nests in holes and other openings in trees. Timing of nesting April through July and clutch size five to seven eggs. No information about incubation, brooding behavior, or breeding success.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. A relatively widespread species. Has declined in western part of range due to habitat loss, and is now rare.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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