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Jun 08 2011

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Marsh Tit (Parus palustris)

Marsh Tit

Marsh Tit

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Paridae | [latin] Parus palustris | [UK] Marsh Tit | [FR] Mesange nonnette | [DE] Sumpfmeise | [ES] Carbonero Palustre | [NL] Glanskop

Subspecies

Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Poecile palustris EU widespread
Poecile palustris brevirostris
Poecile palustris dresseri
Poecile palustris ernsti
Poecile palustris hellmayri
Poecile palustris hensoni
Poecile palustris italicus
Poecile palustris jeholicus
Poecile palustris kabardensis
Poecile palustris palustris
Poecile palustris stagnatilis

Physical charateristics

No shorter but less robustly built than Willow Tit, with visibly shorter and smaller head, sleeker plumage, and usually more forked tail. Rather small, sharp-billed, evenly-balanced tit, particularly adept at holding food with feet. One of 4 tits with similar basic plumage pattern, consisting in Marsh Tit of glossy black cap and chin, dull brown upperparts, and off-white underparts. Slightly paler tertial-fringes do not form conspicuous pale shade or panel as in Willow Tit.

Listen to the sound of Marsh Tit

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/M/Marsh Tit.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 18 cm wingspan max.: 19 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 13 cm
incubation min.: 13 days incubation max.: 17 days
fledging min.: 17 days fledging max.: 17 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 7  
      eggs max.: 10  

Range

Eurasia : widespread

Habitat

Breeds in west Palearctic in middle and upper latitudes in temperate, and marginally in boreal, continental, and oceanic climates, within July isotherms 15-24 degrees C, predominantly in lowlands but locally up to c. 1300 m in mountains. Shows strong preference for deciduous woodland and forest, typically oak or beech, moist rather than dry, and in relatively large rather than fragmented stands. Despite attraction towards extensive woodland, preference may be shown where choice exists for occupancy of alder carr, belts of riverain trees, orchards, and gardens or parks with suitable broad-leaf cover. Use often made of entire vertical spectrum from canopy to ground, although detailed studies suggest concentration on middle and lower layers. Requirement for availability of suitable ready-made nest-holes influences preference for at least a fair proportion of old or decaying trees, and avoidance of actively managed woodland, especially plantations.

Reproduction

Little variation in laying date over at least most of Europe, but slightly earlier in north. Norway: laying 25 April to 15 May. Southern Sweden: median laying date 30 April. Southern Germany: average laying date 29 April. Southern England: average laying date 24 April. Laying continues until mid- or late May, later in rare cases of second broods. nest is built in a hole in tree or stump, or among tree roots; occasionally in wall or ground, occasionally uses nest-boxes. Nest is a hole, which may be widened and deepened, does not normally excavate hole completely. Nest-cup a thick basal pad of moss, occasionally with mixture of other plant material, lined with hair and occasionally a few small feathers.
Clutch: usually 7-10. Average size of first clutch about 8 eggs in central and northern Europe. No geographical variation established, but perhaps slightly lower in peripheral areas than in central Europe; clutches larger in large than in small holes. Incubation lasts 13-17 days and the young fledge after 17-20 days.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects and spiders in spring and summer, also seeds, berries, and nuts at other times of year. Plant material more important than for other west Palearctic tits, and in some areas preferred to animal food outside breeding season; beechmast probably preferred plant food when available. In trees, pecks at bark on trunk or branch, vigorously tearing away moss or lichen with powerful body movements, or hammers at crevices with bill. Fruit and seeds dealt with by being held under one or both feet; fruit pulp then removed and eaten, or seed husk torn open by jabbing with upper mandible only; either removed or contents eaten through hole. Great amount of food material stored, from late summer to winter. Food stored among leaf litter, on dead stumps, under moss or lichen on tree branches, etc.; mostly removed and eaten within a few days of storing.

Conservation

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km2. It has a large global population, including an estimated 6,100,000-12,000,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified; there is evidence of a population decline (Snow and Perrins 1998), but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Parus palustris is a widespread resident across much of Europe, which accounts for
less than half of its global range. Its European breeding population is very large
(>3,000,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although the species remained
stable across the majority of Europe during 1990-2000, the sizeable population in
France suffered a substantial decline and there were also declines in other countries
in north-west Europe, and the species underwent a moderate decline (>10%) overall.
Consequently, this previously Secure species is now evaluated as Declining.
Marsh Tit status Least Concern

Migration

Sedentary, undergoing short-distance post-breeding dispersal over much of range but in northern areas part of population nomadic or southward-moving during winter. Seems not to participate in irregular eruptive movements of some other Parus.

Distribution map

Marsh Tit distribution range map

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