Family Tits and Chickadees (Paridae)

Least Concern

Varied Tit (Poecile varius)


Taxonomy

French: Mésange variée German: Buntmeise Spanish: Carbonero Variado
Taxonomy:

Parus varius

Temminck and Schlegel

, 1848,

Honshu, Japan

.

Until recently present genus normally subsumed into a broad Parus, and many authors still prefer that treatment. Genus normally treated as feminine, but no evidence in original description or elsewhere justifies this, so genus is masculine by default. Has hybridized with P. montanus. Geographical variation largely clinal, grading progressively smaller and darker from N to S. Birds from Yakushima (off S Japan) described as race yakushimensis, supposedly slightly darker on forecrown and side of head than those on neighbouring Tanegashima, but differences considered insufficient to warrant separation from sunsunpi. Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. v. varius (Temminck & Schlegel, 1848) – S Kuril Is, Japan, NE China (SE Liaoning, S Jilin) and Korea.
  • P. v. sunsunpi (Nagamichi Kuroda, 1919) – Osumi-shoto (Tanegashima, Yakushima), off S Japan.
  • P. v. namiyei (Nagamichi Kuroda, 1918) – N Izu Is (Toshima, Niijima, Kozushima).
  • P. v. owstoni (Ijima, 1893) – S Izu Is.
  • P. v. amamii (Nagamichi Kuroda, 1922) – NC Ryukyu Is (Amami-oshima S to Okinawa).
  • P. v. olivaceus (Nagamichi Kuroda, 1923) – Iriomote, in S Ryukyus.
  • P. v. castaneoventris (Gould, 1863) – Taiwan.
  • P. v. orii (Nagamichi Kuroda, 1923) – Daito-jima (Borodino Is).
  • Descriptive notes

    12–14 cm; 15·9–18·2 g. Medium-sized, black-capped tit with grey upperparts and chestnut underparts. Male nominate race has forehead buffish, crown (... read more

    Voice

    Calls include weak “tsuu tsuu tsuu” as contact, a thin, sharp “pit” or... read more

    Habitat

    Lowland conifer forests, particularly of yew (Taxus) in Kuril Is, and open deciduous and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food mostly small invertebrates, including spiders (Araneae); also seeds and nuts (principally of Castanopsis cuspidata and ... read more

    Breeding

    Season early Mar to Aug; possibly two broods in S of range. Pairs for life. Territory defended throughout year. Nest built mostly by female... read more

    Movements

    Largely resident. Some may move altitudinally or make local and relatively short movements in Japan... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common or locally very common to abundant in S Japan and Kuril Is; uncommon in N Japan (Hokkaido and N Honshu), local on Taiwan, and... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gosler, A. & Clement, P. (2017). Varied Tit (Poecile varius). 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/59870 on 20 February 2017).