Family Tits and Chickadees (Paridae)

Least Concern

Grey Tit (Melaniparus afer)


Taxonomy

French: Mésange petit-deuil German: Kaprußmeise Spanish: Carbonero gris
Taxonomy:

Parus afer

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

.

Has been considered conspecific with any or all of M. thruppi, M. griseiventris and M. cinerascens, but see M. leuconotus. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. a. afer (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – W South Africa (Northern Cape, Western Cape) and SW Namibia.
  • M. a. arens (Clancey, 1963) – Lesotho and S South Africa (S Free State, W Eastern Cape).
  • Descriptive notes

    14–15 cm; 17·3–22·4 g. Medium-sized to large, dark grey tit with black head to breast and white lower face. Male nominate race has forehead to crown... read more

    Voice

    Calls include series of thin and fairly sibilant “tsi-cha-cha-cha” or “tsisisi-... read more

    Habitat

    Dry thorn-scrub, including arid Karoo areas of semi-desert, scrubby or bushy patches and fynbos, in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes small invertebrates, particularly wasps (Hymenoptera), ants (Formicidae), beetles (Coleoptera), spiders (Araneae) and larvae... read more

    Breeding

    Season Aug–Mar. Possibly a co-operative breeder. Nest built by both sexes, a thick pad or cup of grass, plant fibres, animal hair,... read more

    Movements

    Resident or locally nomadic.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon or scarce. Fairly common in South Africa around Cape Town. Apparently present in Kwazulu-Natal (E South Africa) prior to 1970, but no recent... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gosler, A. & Clement, P. (2019). Grey Tit (Melaniparus afer). 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/59899 on 22 February 2019).