Family Long-tailed Tits (Aegithalidae)

Least Concern

Pygmy Tit (Psaltria exilis)

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Taxonomy

French: Orite pygmée German: Javaschwanzmeise Spanish: Mito pigmeo
Other common names: Pygmy Bushtit
Taxonomy:

Psaltria exilis

Temminck

, 1836,

Java

.

Monotypic.

Distribution:

Mountains of W & C Java.

Descriptive notes

8·5–8·7 cm. A tiny, long-tailed, nondescript aegithalid with short, stubby, broad-based bill. Head is drab greyish-brown, tinged cinnamon on forehead; upperparts, including upperwing, medium grey with brownish tinge, rump purer grey; tail dull grey-brown; chin and throat light grey, mottled and bordered below with pale pinkish-buff; side of breast, upper flanks and faint narrow breastband dull greyish-brown, rest of underparts very pale dull pinkish-buff; iris yellowish-white to whitish, sometimes brown or grey (perhaps age-related); bill greyish-horn, dark brown or black; legs flesh-yellow or yellow. Sexes alike. Juvenile remians undescribed, but thought to be very similar to adult.

Drawing by Brian Small
Descriptive notes:

8·5–8·7 cm. A tiny, long-tailed, nondescript aegithalid with short, stubby, broad-based bill. Head is drab greyish-brown, tinged cinnamon on forehead; upperparts, including upperwing, medium grey with brownish tinge, rump purer grey; tail dull grey-brown; chin and throat light grey, mottled and bordered below with pale pinkish-buff; side of breast, upper flanks and faint narrow breastband dull greyish-brown, rest of underparts very pale dull pinkish-buff; iris yellowish-white to whitish, sometimes brown or grey (perhaps age-related); bill greyish-horn, dark brown or black; legs flesh-yellow or yellow. Sexes alike. Juvenile remians undescribed, but thought to be very similar to adult.

Voice

Calls include thin but penetrating, high-pitched “tsi-tsi-tsi-si-sisi” (slowing and falling in intensity), fuller clipped “chut” and abrupt rattled “trrrt”. Strongly reminiscent of voice of genus Aegithalos.

 

Habitat

Montane forest and plantations above 1000 m, occasionally down to 830 m; frequents conifers and other open trees, often on forest edge.

 

Food and feeding

Food insects, including aphids (Aphidoidea) and caterpillars, also small spiders (Araneae). Active, travelling in small flocks. Often forages at low levels.

 

Breeding

Season Mar–May and Aug–Nov. Nest a suspended pouch of leaves and grass, 8–17 cm tall and 6–8·5 cm in diameter, lined with moss, small entrance hole (2–3 cm) near top, internal nest-chamber 3–5·5 cm deep, generally similar to nest of flowerpeckers (Dicaei­dae), suspended 3–8 m above ground, concealed in foliage. Clutch 2–3 eggs, white with fine red spots, dimensions 11·8–13·4 × 9·3–10·6 mm. No other information.

 

Movements

Resident.

 

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Java and Bali Forests EBA. Locally common, e.g. at Cibodas. Records from Gonoharjo (near Mt Unguran) and above Pancoran Tujuh (Mt Slamet) may be the farthest E for the species. On densely populated island of Java, even this species of montane forest should be considered potentially at long-term risk from deforestation. Occurs in Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park (Cibodas Biosphere Reserve)

 

Recommended citation

Harrap, S. (2018). Pygmy Tit (Psaltria exilis). 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/59751 on 13 December 2018).