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Monday, 29 July 2019

The coal tit

The coal tit (or cole tit, Periparus ater) is a small passerine bird in the tit family, Paridae. It is a widespread and common resident breeder throughout temperate to subtropical Eurasia and northern Africa. The black-crested tit is now usually included in this species.
There are a few different subspecies of the coal tit, those being the British, North African and continental ones. They are most commonly found throughout Europe and Russia in coniferous forests and trees.
The coal tit is 10–11.5 cm in length, and has a distinctive large white nape spot on its black head. The head, throat and neck of the adult are glossy blue-black, setting off the off-white sides of the face (tinged grey to yellow depending on subspecies) and the brilliant white nape; the white tips of the wing coverts appear as two wingbars. The underparts are whitish shading through buff to rufous on the flanks. The bill is black, the legs lead-coloured, and irides dark brown.
The young birds are duller than the adults, lacking gloss on the black head, and with the white of nape and cheeks tinged with yellow.
While searching for food, coal tit flocks keep contact with incessant short dee or see-see calls. The species' song – if "song" it can be called – is a strident if-he, if-he, if-he, heard most frequently from January to June, but also in autumn. Song resembles Great Tit´s, but much faster and higher in pitch. One variant of this song ends with a sharp ichi. North African birds also have a currr call similar to that of the European crested tit (Lophophanes cristatus) which is not found in Africa.
A favourite nesting site is a hole in a rotting tree-stump, often low down, and the nest is deep within the hole; holes in the ground, burrows of mice or rabbits, chinks between the stones in walls, old nests of Pica magpies or other large birds, and squirrel dreys are also occupied. The materials, moss, hair and grass, are closely felted together, and rabbit fur or feathers added for lining. Seven to eleven red-spotted white eggs are laid, usually in May; this species breeds usually once per year.

 

(latin: parus ater)

Monday, 29 July 2019