Family Tits and Chickadees (Paridae)

Least Concern

Great Tit (Parus major)


Taxonomy

French: Mésange charbonnière German: Kohlmeise Spanish: Carbonero común
Taxonomy:

Parus major

Linnaeus

, 1758,

Europe

.

Race bokharensis previously treated as a separate species, but now included herein, based on vocal, morphological and genetic similarities#R#R. Geographical variation complex and partly clinal, but 3–4 groups of races commonly recognized: “major”, in Palearctic (except far E), containing green-backed, yellow-bellied races (14 races); “bokharensis”, of C Asia, with small, pale and grey forms (5 races); “cinereus”, from SW Asia and Indian Subcontinent E to Indochina and Indonesia, containing grey-backed, whitish-bellied forms (12 races; intermedius may also prove to belong here#R); and “minor”, from E Asia and Japan, incorporating greenish-backed, white-bellied races (12 races). Molecular analysis#R suggests these groups, which also reflect some differences in voice#R and habitat, could be treated as species; but (a) there are contact zones affecting all groups, (b) taxa differ on relatively minor morphological and mensural characters, (c) vocal distinctions are not strong, (d) genetic and vocal samplings derive from a relatively small number of sites and (e) more recent molecular work suggests rather low levels of divergence#R. Further integrative analysis needed to support or reject multiple splits. Race kagoshimae merged with minor by some authors. Race nigriloris appears unusually distinct and may merit further research. Race planorum previously listed as nipalensis, but that name preoccupied and replaced under First Reviser action#R. Species hybridizes, very rarely, with Periparus ater and Cyanistes caeruleus, and possibly Poecile palustris. Forty-three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. m. newtoni Prazák, 1894 – British Is, Netherlands, Belgium and NW France.
  • P. m. major Linnaeus, 1758 – Great Tit – mainland Europe (Scandinavia S to N & C Spain, C Italy and Balkans), W & SC Siberia (E to L Baikal, S to N & E Kazakhstan and Altai), Asia Minor, Caucasus and Azerbaijan (except SE).
  • P. m. kapustini Portenko, 1954 – SE Kazakhstan (Dzhungarskiy Alatau), extreme NW China (NW Xinjiang) and NW Mongolia E to Transbaikalia, SE Russia (N Amurland) and Sea of Okhotsk.
  • P. m. bargaensis Yamashina, 1939 – Inner Mongolia (NE China).
  • P. m. corsus O. Kleinschmidt, 1903 – Portugal, S Spain and Corsica.
  • P. m. mallorcae Jordans, 1913 – Balearic Is.
  • P. m. excelsus Buvry, 1857 – NW Africa (Morocco E to N Tunisia).
  • P. m. ecki Jordans, 1970 – Sardinia.
  • P. m. aphrodite Madarász, 1901 – S Italy, S Greece, Aegean Is and Cyprus.
  • P. m. niethammeri Jordans, 1970 – Crete.
  • P. m. terraesanctae E. J. O. Hartert, 1910 – Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Jordan and NE Egypt.
  • P. m. karelini Zarudny, 1910 – SE Azerbaijan and N Iran.
  • P. m. blanfordi Prazák, 1894 – N Iraq and NC & SW Iran.
  • P. m. intermedius Zarudny, 1890 – NE Iran and SW Turkmenistan.
  • P. m. bokharensis M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1823 – Turkestan Tit – SC Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and extreme NE Iran E to N Afghanistan.
  • P. m. turkestanicus Zarudny & Loudon, 1905 – SE Kazakhstan E to extreme NW China (N Xinjiang), possibly also extreme SW Mongolia.
  • P. m. iliensis Zarudny & Bilkewitsch, 1912 – E Kazakhstan and perhaps extreme NW China#R.
  • P. m. ferghanensis Buturlin, 1912 – mountains in Tajikistan (Pamir, Alai) and Kyrgyzstan E to W Tien Shan.
  • P. m. dzungaricus Zarudny & Bilkewitsch, 1912 – N Xinjiang (NW China).
  • P. m. decolorans Koelz, 1939 – NE Afghanistan and NW Pakistan.
  • P. m. ziaratensis Whistler, 1929 – C & S Afghanistan and W Pakistan.
  • P. m. caschmirensis E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 – NW Himalayas E from N Pakistan.
  • P. m. planorum E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 – N India and Nepal E to W & C Myanmar.
  • P. m. vauriei Ripley, 1950 – NE India (E Assam).
  • P. m. stupae Koelz, 1939 – W, C & SE India.
  • P. m. mahrattarum E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 – SW India and Sri Lanka.
  • P. m. templorum Meyer de Schauensee, 1946 – E Thailand and S Indochina.
  • P. m. hainanus E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 – Hainan.
  • P. m. ambiguus (Raffles, 1822) – S Thailand, Malay Peninsula and Sumatra.
  • P. m. sarawacensis Slater, 1885 – patchily in coastal Borneo.
  • P. m. cinereus Vieillot, 1818 – Cinereous Tit – Java and Lesser Sundas.
  • P. m. wladiwostokensis O. Kleinschmidt, 1913 – Russian Far East (C Amurland, Ussuriland), S Sakhalin, NE China (S to Hebei) and Korea.
  • P. m. dageletensis Nagamichi Kuroda & Mori, 1920 – Ulleung I (Dagelet), off E of S Korea.
  • P. m. minor Temminck & Schlegel, 1848 – Japanese Tit – Japan (S to Kyushu).
  • P. m. kagoshimae Takatsukasa, 1919 – S Kyushu and Goto Is.
  • P. m. amamiensis O. Kleinschmidt, 1922 – N Ryukyu Is (Amami-Oshima, Tokunoshima).
  • P. m. okinawae E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 – Okinawa, in C Ryukyus.
  • P. m. nigriloris Hellmayr, 1900 – S Ryukyus (Ishigaki, Iriomote).
  • P. m. artatus Thayer & Bangs, 1909 – C & E China (W to Hubei, S to R Yangtze).
  • P. m. tibetanus E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 – SW & SC China (SE & E Xizang, S & E Qinghai and W Sichuan S to Yunnan and W Guizhou) and N Myanmar.
  • P. m. subtibetanus O. Kleinschmidt & Weigold, 1922 – C & SC China (Sichuan, N Yunnan).
  • P. m. nubicolus Meyer de Schauensee, 1946 – E Myanmar, N Thailand and NW Indochina.
  • P. m. commixtus Swinhoe, 1868 – NE Vietnam and SE China (E from Yunnan, S of R Yangtze).
  • Descriptive notes

    12·5–14 cm; 11·9–22·1 g. Large, black-headed tit with large white face patch, and pale or yellow underparts divided by black ventral line.... read more

    Voice

    Male particularly vocal throughout year, with large repertoire and variety of calls, up to 40... read more

    Habitat

    Mostly open deciduous and mixed forests and edges and clearings in dense forest, including conifer... read more

    Food and feeding

    Well studied. Food in summer mostly small invertebrates and larvae (usually up to 1 cm); at other seasons also seeds and various other... read more

    Breeding

    Season mostly late Jan to Sept (lays from late Mar onwards in W Palearctic), in Israel also exceptionally Oct–Dec (following post-... read more

    Movements

    Resident, altitudinal migrant and partially eruptive. In C & S Europe largely sedentary, but... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common, locally common or abundant; not uncommon in Morocco but scarce N Algeria, and rare Saharan Atlas; rare in S Bhutan. Status in Borneo requires... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gosler, A., Clement, P. & Christie, D.A. (2017). Great Tit (Parus major). 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/59900 on 18 August 2017).