Family Tits and Chickadees (Paridae)

Least Concern

African Blue Tit (Cyanistes teneriffae)


Taxonomy

French: Mésange nord-africaine German: Kanarenmeise Spanish: Herrerillo canario
Taxonomy:

Parus Teneriffae

Lesson

, 1831,

Tenerife, Canary Islands

.

Previously considered conspecific with C. caeruleus, which in HBW included races ultramarinus and cyrenaicae; however, on multiple lines of evidence, including molecular#R#R and acoustic#R, these two races clearly belong with present species, all taxa of which differ from C. caeruleus by their blackish-blue vs pale blue crown and nape (3); broader, blacker collar and adjoining throat-patch contrasting with whiter forehead and face (2); darker upperparts (mid-blue or, in ombriosus, dull mid-green vs pale green) (1); longer bill (effect size in random 10 male specimens representing five races each 3.7, score 2); and different songs (allow at least 2). Distinctiveness of race degener weak, and genetic evidence places it within ultramarinus#R#R, although these two and indeed all other races have been suggested for species rank#R. Seven subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. t. palmensis (Meade-Waldo, 1889) – Palma Blue Tit – La Palma, in NW Canary Is.
  • C. t. ombriosus (Meade-Waldo, 1890) – El Hierro (SW Canaries).
  • C. t. teneriffae (Lesson, 1831) – Canary Blue Tit – La Gomera and Tenerife, in WC Canary Is.
  • C. t. hedwigii (Dietzen et al., 2008) – Gran Canaria, in C Canary Is.
  • C. t. degener (E. J. O. Hartert, 1901) – Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, in E Canary Is.
  • C. t. ultramarinus (Bonaparte, 1841) – Ultramarine Tit – NW Africa from Morocco E to N Tunisia.
  • C. t. cyrenaicae (E. J. O. Hartert, 1922) – Libyan Blue Tit – NE Libya.
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12 cm; c. 10 g. Small, sharp-billed, compact tit. Nominate race has forehead and supercilium to centre of nape white, crown deep glossy blue, becoming blackish on... read more

    Voice

    Song of nominate race a variable repetition of one note or series of notes, a powerful, musical... read more

    Habitat

    On arid islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, breeds mostly in low-lying mixed ­tamarisk-palm... read more

    Food and feeding

    Details not well known; diet possibly not significantly different from that of C. caeruleus, except that it may take a larger... read more

    Breeding

    Season Feb–Jul, possibly also Oct–Jan; usually breeds earlier at lower levels than in montane areas. Nest similar to that of... read more

    Movements

    Resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not assessed. Common on islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria; scarce or local on Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. Fuerteventura population estimated at 366–1718 individuals... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gosler, A. & Clement, P. (2018). African Blue Tit (Cyanistes teneriffae). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/59910 on 12 December 2018).