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Poecile montanus kleinschmidti 2.jpg
Willow tit, Poecile montanus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Paridae
Genus: Poecile
Kaup, 1829

13–15, see text

Poecile is a genus of bird in the tit family. It has 13–15 species, which are scattered across North America, Europe and Asia; the North American species are the chickadees. In the past, most authorities retained Poecile as a subgenus within the genus Parus, but treatment as a distinct genus, initiated by the American Ornithologists Union, is now widely accepted.[1] This is supported by mtDNA cytochrome b sequence analysis.[2]

The current genus name, Poecile, is the Ancient Greek name for a now unidentifiable small bird.[3] It has traditionally been treated as feminine (giving name endings such as cincta); however, this was not specified by the original genus author Johann Jakob Kaup, and under the ICZN the genus name must therefore be treated by default as masculine, giving name endings such as cinctus.[1]


The genus includes the following fifteen species:[4]

Image Common Name Scientific name Distribution
White-browed tit Poecile superciliosus central China and Tibet.
Poecile lugubris, Bulgaria 1.jpg Sombre tit Poecile lugubris southeast Europe and southwest Asia
Père David's tit Poecile davidi central China in southern Gansu, western Hubei, southern Shaanxi and Sichuan
Marsh Tit (Poecile palustris) (16).JPG Marsh tit Poecile palustris temperate Europe and northern Asia
Caspian tit Poecile hyrcanus northern Iran, just extending into Azerbaijan.
Black-bibbed Tit.jpg Black-bibbed tit Poecile hypermelaenus central and eastern China to southeast Tibet and western Myanmar.
Poecile montanus kleinschmidti.jpg Willow tit Poecile montanus temperate and subarctic Europe and northern Asia
Sichuan tit Poecile weigoldicus central China
Carolina Chickadee1 by Dan Pancamo.jpg Carolina chickadee Poecile carolinensis United States from New Jersey west to southern Kansas and south to Florida and Texas
Poecile atricapillus CT3.jpg Black-capped chickadee Poecile atricapillus Maine and Massachusetts in the United States, and New Brunswick in Canada
Mountain Chickadee (15241498235).jpg Mountain chickadee Poecile gambeli western United States
Mexican Chickadee (18189229812).jpg Mexican chickadee Poecile sclateri Mexico
Poecile cinctus, Ivalo, Finland 1.jpg Grey-headed chickadee Poecile cinctus subarctic Scandinavia and northern Asia, and also into North America in Alaska and the far northwest of Canada
Poecile hudsonicus 18.jpg Boreal chickadee Poecile hudsonicus Canada, Alaska, and the northern edges of the northernmost portions of the lower forty-eight United States
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (14580910575).jpg Chestnut-backed chickadee Poecile rufescens Pacific Northwest of the United States and western Canada, from southern Alaska to southwestern California


  1. ^ a b del Hoyo et al. (2007)
  2. ^ Gill et al. (2005)
  3. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 311. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4. 
  4. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David (eds.). "Waxwings and their allies, tits & penduline tits". World Bird List Version 6.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 15 February 2016. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Gill, F. B., Slikas, B., & Sheldon, F. H. (2005). Phylogeny of titmice (Paridae): II. Species relationships based on sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene. Auk 122: 121–143. DOI: 10.1642/0004-8038(2005)122[0121:POTPIS]2.0.CO;2 HTML abstract