Caspian tit

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Caspian tit
Conservation status
Not recognized (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Paridae
Genus: Poecile
Species: P. hyrcanus
Binomial name
Poecile hyrcanus
(Zarudny & Loudon, 1905)

The Caspian tit (Poecile hyrcanus, formerly Parus hyrcanus) is a passerine bird in the tit family. It is often lumped with sombre tit Poecile lugubris (del Hoyo et al. 2007), but some research suggests that it is a separate species, more closely related to willow and Songar tits (Harrap & Quinn 1996).

It breeds in the deciduous mountain forests of northern Iran, just extending into Azerbaijan.

The 12.5 cm long Caspian tit has a dark brown cap and bib, rich brown upperparts and underparts which are pinkish-buff when fresh, but become paler and greyer as the feathers age. The sexes are similar, but juveniles are somewhat duller.

The most common call of this generally quiet bird is a thin zsit, but a nasal double note, chev chev, is also given.

The Caspian tit excavates its own nesting hole, usually in a rotten stump or in a tree, more or less decayed. Most nests examined are cups of felted material, such as fur, hair and wood chips, but feathers are sometimes used. The number of eggs varies from five to seven, white with faint reddish spots or blotches.

It feeds on caterpillars, insects and seeds, much like other tits.

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