Family Tits and Chickadees (Paridae)

Least Concern

Common Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)


Taxonomy

French: Mésange bleue German: Blaumeise Spanish: Herrerillo Común
Other common names: Blue Tit, African Blue Tit (ultramarinus and cyrenaicae often with C. teneriffae), Pleske’s Tit (hybrid form “pleskii”)
Taxonomy:

Parus caeruleus

Linnaeus

, 1758,

Sweden

.

Until recently present genus normally subsumed into a broad Parus, and many authors still prefer that treatment. Forms a superspecies with C. teneriffae and C. cyanus. Previously considered conspecific with former, but differs in mitochondrial DNA; alternatively, races ultramarinus and cyrenaicae alone frequently treated within C. teneriffae; further study required. Hybridizes with C. cyanus, especially following years when latter expands W in irruptive manner (hybrids described as a separate taxon, “pleskii”); hybridizes rarely also with Parus major. Nominate race intergrades with obscurus, ogliastrae and satunini; also, satunini intergrades with persicus, and it is uncertain which of these races breeds in NW Syria. Eleven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. c. obscurus (Prazák, 1894) – British Is.
  • C. c. caeruleus (Linnaeus, 1758) – N, C & E Europe (S to N Spain, Italy, N & C Greece), W & N Asia Minor.
  • C. c. ogliastrae (E. J. O. Hartert, 1905) – S Iberia, Corsica and Sardinia.
  • C. c. balearicus (Jordans, 1913) – Mallorca.
  • C. c. calamensis (Parrot, 1908) – S Greece, Cyclades, Crete and Rhodes.
  • C. c. orientalis Zarudny & Loudon, 1905 – SE European Russia.
  • C. c. satunini Zarudny, 1908 – Crimea, Caucasus, E Turkey, N Jordan, NW Iran, possibly also SE Turkey, NW Syria and N Iraq.
  • C. c. raddei (Zarudny, 1908) – N Iran.
  • C. c. persicus (Blanford, 1873) – SW Iran.
  • C. c. ultramarinus (Bonaparte, 1841) – NW Africa from Morocco E to N Tunisia.
  • C. c. cyrenaicae (E. J. O. Hartert, 1922) – NE Libya.
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12 cm; 7·5–14·7 g. Small, small-billed, compact tit with rounded head shape. Male nominate race has forehead and upper lores white and merging... read more

    Voice

    Very vocal. Contact note between partners or members of flock (frequently used throughout year) a... read more

    Habitat

    In Europe, mostly lowland and submontane deciduous woodlands, principally containing oak (... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food includes small (usually c. 1 cm) invertebrates and larvae, also some fruit and seeds. Animal items principally springtails (Collembola... read more

    Breeding

    Season Apr to late Jun, with egg-laying, clutch size and breeding success closely linked to timing of emergence and abundance of... read more

    Movements

    Mainly resident in C & S of range, partially migratory in N; also some seasonal altitudinal... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to locally abundant, rare along N edge and in SE of range. Breeds occasionally outside normal limits of range, as e.g. in NE Syria (where... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gosler, A., Clement, P. & Christie, D.A. (2017). Common Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from http://www.hbw.com/node/59909 on 25 February 2017).