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Jun 08 2011

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Great Tit (Parus major)

Great Tit

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Paridae | [latin] Parus major | [UK] Great Tit | [FR] Mesange charbonniere | [DE] Kohlmeise | [ES] Carbonero Comun | [NL] Koolmees

Subspecies

Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Parus major EU w, c Eurasia, n Africa
Parus major aphrodite
Parus major blanfordi
Parus major bokharensis
Parus major corsus
Parus major ecki
Parus major excelsus
Parus major ferghanensis
Parus major kapustini
Parus major karelini
Parus major major
Parus major mallorcae
Parus major newtoni
Parus major niethammeri
Parus major terraesanctae
Parus major turkestanicus

Physical charateristics

Large tit, with quite long and broad tail, quite heavy and spiky bill, and rather large domed head. Body and tail like Sylvia warbler.
Plumage basically blue-green above and yellow below, white-cheeked black head, black central stripe on underbody, and white wing-bar and tail edges.
Sexes closely similar, some seasonal vareation.

Listen to the sound of Great Tit

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/G/Great Tit.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 22 cm wingspan max.: 25 cm
size min.: 13 cm size max.: 15 cm
incubation min.: 13 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 18 days fledging max.: 14 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 8  
      eggs max.: 10  

Range

Eurasia : West, Central Eurasia, North Africa

Habitat

Breeds in west Palearctic from higher to lower middle latitudes, continental and oceanic, in coolest and warmest forest zones, from subarctic to Mediterranean, and marginally in steppe and semi-desert.
Extralimitally in Asia extends deep into tropics. Able to ascend mountains to treeline exceptionally 1900 m. But is much more a lowland species, disliking pure coniferous forest, and preferring mixed types and preferring mixed types and more open or even fragmented and scattered tree cover may be less important than structure and density of undergrowth.

Reproduction

Laying begins April over most of west Palerctic, March-April in lowland areas in south, May in north. Nest is built in tree-hole or, if not available, in wall or other man-made structure of any kind. Nest consists of a foundation mainly of moss, often with some dry grass or other vegetable matter, thickly lined with hair, wool, and often feathers. Clutch is 3-18 eggs which are Incubated for 12-15 days, by female alone.

Feeding habits

Wide variety of insects, especially Lepidoptera and Coleptera, also spiders. Significant amount of seeds and fruit in winter. In winter, forages in wide variety of sites but mainly below 6-7 m. In spring, feeding height generally rises suddenly to above 9 m when feeding on caterpillars. In winter, takes insects from bark, twigs, walls, and leaf litter, and may move nearer to human habitation to feed at bird-tables, etc.

Conservation

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Parus major is a widespread resident across most of Europe, which accounts for less
than half of its global range. Its European breeding population is extremely large
(>46,000,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although there were declines
in a handful of countries during 1990-2000, populations were stable across the vast
majority of Europe, and the species remained stable overall.
Great Tit status Least Concern

Migration

Resident over much of southern and central part of range and irregular eruptive migrant from northern areas, sometimes moving in huge numbers. Altitudinal migrant from some of highest breeding areas.

Distribution map

Great Tit distribution range map

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