Family Tits and Chickadees (Paridae)

Least Concern

Varied Tit (Sittiparus varius)


Taxonomy

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

Parus varius

Temminck and Schlegel

, 1845,

#R, Honshu, Japan

.

Until recently considered conspecific with S. owstoni, S. olivaceus and S. castaneoventris, but all are distinct both genetically and morphologically#R (see all three, below). Same analysis also proposed to synonymize races sunsunpi, yakushimensis (already considered a synonym of sunsunpi in HBW), namiyei, amamii and †orii with nominate; however, increasing rufescence in plumage occurs in other populations assigned to nominate, e.g. on Gageo I off SW Korean Peninsula, and Ulleung I, E of South Korea, so further subspecies may yet be proposed and, pending exhaustive review, taxa accepted in HBW also accepted here. Has hybridized with Poecile montanus. Four extant subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. v. varius (Temminck & Schlegel, 1845) – S Kuril Is, Japan, NE China (SE Liaoning, S Jilin) and Korea.
  • S. v. sunsunpi (Nagamichi Kuroda, 1919) – Osumi-shoto (Tanegashima, Yakushima), off S Japan.
  • S. v. namiyei (Nagamichi Kuroda, 1918) – N Izu Is (Toshima, Niijima, Kozushima).
  • S. v. amamii Nagamichi Kuroda, 1922 – NC Ryukyu Is (Amami-Oshima, Tokunoshima, Okinawa).
  • S. 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 (Sittiparus 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 26 April 2017).