African blue tit

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African blue tit
Cyanistes caeruleus -Gran Canaria, Canary Islands, Spain-8.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Paridae
Genus: Cyanistes
Species: C. teneriffae
Binomial name
Cyanistes teneriffae
Lesson, 1831

Parus teneriffae

The African blue tit (Cyanistes teneriffae) is a species of bird in the family Paridae. It is found in northern Africa and the Canary Islands. Its natural habitat is temperate forests. This species and the Eurasian blue tit were formerly considered conspecific.


Canary Islands races
Ranges of the Canary Islands races of African blue tit
Green: teneriffae
Brown: palmensis
Blue: ombriosus
Yellow: ultramarinus
Eggs (Coll.MHNT)
  • Ultramarine tit (C. teneriffae ultramarinus) Bonaparte, 1841 (La Palma, Hierro, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, NW Africa);[1]
  • Libyan blue tit (C. teneriffae cyrenaicae) Hartert, 1922;
  • Canary Islands blue tits (C. teneriffae ssp.) (Tenerife, La Gomera, Gran Canaria)
    • The Canary Islands group would contain five subspecies (palmensis, ombriosus, degener, teneriffae, and hedwigae.[2]

The Canary Islands subspecies has a black cap, and the African form has a blue back. Research is underway to split these populations into distinct species, with a peculiar "leapfrog" distribution:[3][4][5]

Research published in 2007 found that African blue tits on the eastern Canary Islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are indistinguishable from those in North Africa and so the subspecies degener should be regarded as a synonym of ultramarinus.[6]


  1. ^ "African Blue Tit (Cyanistes ultramarinus) Bonaparte, 1841". Avibase. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  2. ^ Manegold, Albrecht. (2012). On the name of the Canary Blue Tit Cyanistes teneriffae from Gran Canaria. Bull. B.O.C. 132(1): 68.
  3. ^ Kvist, Laura. (2006). Response to "Taxonomic status of 'phylogroups' in the Parus teneriffae complex (Aves)" by George Sangster. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 38 (1): 290. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.10.012. (HTML abstract)
  4. ^ Kvist, Laura; J. Broggi, J.C Illera, and K. Koivula. (2005). Colonisation and diversification of the blue tits (Parus caeruleus teneriffae-group) in the Canary Islands. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 34 (3): 501–511. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2004.11.017. PMID 15683925. (HTML abstract)
  5. ^ Sangster, George. (2006). Taxonomic status of 'phylogroups' in the Parus teneriffae complex (Aves): Comments on the paper by Kvist et al. (2005). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 38 (1): 288–289. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2005.10.009. PMID 16314112. (HTML abstract)
  6. ^ Dietzen, Christian; Garcia-del-Rey, Eduardo; Delgado Castro, Guillermo; Wink, Michael (January 2007). "Phylogeography of the blue tit (Parus teneriffae-group) on the Canary Islands based on mitochondrial DNA sequence data and morphometrics". Journal of Ornithology. 149 (1): 1–12. doi:10.1007/s10336-007-0192-7.