Family Tits and Chickadees (Paridae)

Least Concern

Caspian Tit (Poecile hyrcanus)


Taxonomy

French: Mésange d’Iran German: Elbursmeise Spanish: Carbonero del Caspio
Taxonomy:

Poecile lugubris hyrcanus

Zarudny and Loudon

, 1905,

Rostamabad, Gilan, north-western Iran

.

Status as an independent species or a race of P. lugubris much debated, but consensus emerging that species rank is appropriate, particularly after molecular analysis#R. Differs from all taxa in P. lugubris by dark chestnut-brown vs blackish cap (2); dark brown of cap extending slightly further onto mantle than in other taxa (1); dark bib being less clearly defined at its lower edge (1); underparts washed rusty or pinkish-buff in fresh plumage (ns[1]); tail notably shorter (at least 1); song more like P. montanus than P. lugubris (allow at least 2). Claim of larger bill (repeated in HBW) not borne out in specimen evidence or reported measurements#R; claims for different breeding biology (excavating nest vs not doing so) and habitat#R require further investigation. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Distribution:

SE Azerbaijan (Talysh Mts) and N Iran (Elburz Mts).

Descriptive notes

12·5–14 cm; 13·3–15·4 g. In spring adult has cap warm chestnut-brown, mantle and back grey with faint yellowish tint, rump brighter, with some rufous elements; bib blackish... read more

Voice

Reported to be generally rather silent, and even at height of nesting season song is rarely heard... read more

Habitat

Mixed broadleaf montane woodland dominated by beech (Fagus orientalis), hornbeam (... read more

Food and feeding

Diet not well known, but stomach contents of birds (n = 14) collected in summer contained caterpillars (Yponomeutidae, Pieridae),... read more

Breeding

Almost nothing known in Iran, thus only nesting data are from Azerbaijan. Here, season is staggered slightly by altitude (same is true for... read more

Movements

None specifically reported; believed to be sedentary, even at higher elevations, in Azerbaijan,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Very poorly known, but apparently less common than formerly conspecific P. lugubris. Recorded from comparatively few... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Caspian Tit (Poecile hyrcanus). 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/1343867 on 23 January 2019).