Family Tits and Chickadees (Paridae)

Least Concern

Southern Black Tit (Melaniparus niger)


Taxonomy

French: Mésange nègre German: Sambesi-Rußmeise Spanish: Carbonero negro
Taxonomy:

Parus niger

Vieillot

, 1818,

Sunday River, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

.

Has been considered conspecific with M. leucomelas, but they are not closely related#R and appear not to interbreed in area of range overlap in Malawi and Zambia. See also M. carpi. Races intergrade widely and ravidus is sometimes subsumed within xanthostomus#R. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • M. n. xanthostomus (Shelley, 1892) – SE Angola, C & S Zambia, SW Tanzania, NE Namibia, N & E Botswana and N South Africa (North West Province).
  • M. n. ravidus (Clancey, 1964) – E Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe and C Mozambique S to extreme N South Africa (N Limpopo Province).
  • M. n. niger (Vieillot, 1818) – S Mozambique S to Swaziland and E South Africa (S to Eastern Cape).
  • Descriptive notes

    15–16 cm; 17·2–26 g. Large black tit with white in wing. Male nominate race has entire body black (in fresh plumage, crown to uppertail-coverts glossed... read more

    Voice

    Fairly noisy (especially when predator in vicinity), and group-members frequently give nasal,... read more

    Habitat

    Wide variety of broadleaf mopane (Colophospermum) and miombo (Brachystegia)... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet during breeding principally lepidopteran larvae (including those with toxic hairs); in non-breeding season also other small... read more

    Breeding

    Season Aug–Jan; one brood. Monogamous; estimated c. 66% of population have co-operative breeding system, whereby dominant pair... read more

    Movements

    Resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common or locally common. Population in South Africa estimated at 10,000,000 individuals and in S Mozambique estimated c. 500,000 individuals;... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gosler, A. & Clement, P. (2018). Southern Black Tit (Melaniparus niger). 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/59887 on 16 October 2018).