Tits and Chickadees (Paridae)

Great Tit (Parus major) - HBW 12, p. 739

French: Mésange charbonnière German: Kohlmeise Spanish: Carbonero Común
Other common names: Grey Tit(!); Cinereous Tit (“cinereus group”); Japanese Tit (minor)

Taxonomy: Parus major Linnaeus, 1758, Europe.
Part of a species group which includes also P. bokharensis, P. monticolus and P. nuchalis. Forms a superspecies with P. bokharensis; has been treated as conspecific, but the two interbreed only rarely and locally, and genetic evidence indicates that they are better considered separate species. Hybridizes, very rarely, also with Periparus ater and Cyanistes caeruleus, and possibly with Poecile palustris. Geographical variation highly complex, and to some extent clinal, but three groups of races, or “sections”, traditionally recognized: “no.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Parus major Linnaeus, 1758, Europe.
Part of a species group which includes also P. bokharensis, P. monticolus and P. nuchalis. Forms a superspecies with P. bokharensis; has been treated as conspecific, but the two interbreed only rarely and locally, and genetic evidence indicates that they are better considered separate species. Hybridizes, very rarely, also with Periparus ater and Cyanistes caeruleus, and possibly with Poecile palustris. Geographical variation highly complex, and to some extent clinal, but three groups of races, or “sections”, traditionally recognized: “nominate section”, in Palearctic (except far E), containing the green-backed, yellow-bellied races (the first 12 of those listed below); “cinereus section”, from SW Asia and Indian Subcontinent E to Indochina and Indonesia, containing the grey-backed, whitish-bellied forms (the next 13 in list); and “minor section”, from E Asia and Japanese islands, incorporating the greenish-backed, white-bellied races (the final 9 in list). Recent analyses, using DNA evidence and hybridization studies, suggest that these sections should perhaps be treated as three separate species, largely isolated from one another by major landforms (e.g. Himalayas); also some differences in voice and habitat. On the other hand, a degree of intergradation and/or hybridization is evident in areas where groups meet, e.g. intergrades between blanfordi and intermedius and between kapustini and minor occur; further, race karelini thought by some to represent intermediate population between the first two of those, and is often included within nominate, and, moreover, intermedius and commixtus are themselves sometimes considered to represent merely intergrade populations. Some intergradation also within sections (e.g. between nominate and aphrodite in S Europe). Otherwise, within “minor group”, birds from S China (SW Sichuan S to SE Xizang, Yunnan and W Guizhou) currently included within race tibetanus, but sometimes separated as subtibetanus, and kagoshimae merged with minor by some authors. Thirty-four subspecies presently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • newtoni Prazák, 1894 - British Is, Netherlands, Belgium and NW France.
  • major Linnaeus, 1758 - mainland Europe (Scandinavia S to N & C Spain, C Italy and Balkans), W & SC Siberia (E to L Baikal, S to N & E Kazakhstan and Altai), Asia Minor, Caucasus and Azerbaijan (except SE).
  • kapustini Portenko, 1954 - SE Kazakhstan (Dzungarian Alatau), extreme NW China (NW Xinjiang) and NW Mongolia E to Transbaikalia, SE Russia (N Amurland) and Sea of Okhotsk.

     See all 34 subspecies
  • newtoni Prazák, 1894 - British Is, Netherlands, Belgium and NW France.
  • major Linnaeus, 1758 - mainland Europe (Scandinavia S to N & C Spain, C Italy and Balkans), W & SC Siberia (E to L Baikal, S to N & E Kazakhstan and Altai), Asia Minor, Caucasus and Azerbaijan (except SE).
  • kapustini Portenko, 1954 - SE Kazakhstan (Dzungarian Alatau), extreme NW China (NW Xinjiang) and NW Mongolia E to Transbaikalia, SE Russia (N Amurland) and Sea of Okhotsk.
  • corsus O. Kleinschmidt, 1903 - Portugal, S Spain and Corsica.
  • mallorcae Jordans, 1913 - Balearic Is.
  • excelsus Buvry, 1857 - NW Africa (Morocco E to N Tunisia).
  • ecki Jordans, 1970 - Sardinia.
  • aphrodite Madarász, 1901 - S Italy, S Greece, Aegean Is and Cyprus.
  • niethammeri Jordans, 1970 - Crete.
  • terraesanctae E. J. O. Hartert, 1910 - Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Jordan and NE Egypt.
  • karelini Zarudny, 1910 - SE Azerbaijan and N Iran.
  • blanfordi Prazák, 1894 - N Iraq and NC & SW Iran.
  • intermedius Zarudny, 1890 - NE Iran and SW Turkmenistan.
  • decolorans Koelz, 1939 - NE Afghanistan and NW Pakistan.
  • ziaratensis Whistler, 1929 - C & S Afghanistan and W Pakistan.
  • caschmirensis E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 - NW Himalayas E from N Pakistan.
  • nipalensis Hodgson, 1837 - N India and Nepal E to W & C Myanmar.
  • vauriei Ripley, 1950 - NE India (E Assam).
  • stupae Koelz, 1939 - W, C & SE India.
  • mahrattarum E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 - SW India and Sri Lanka.
  • templorum Meyer de Schauensee, 1946 - W Thailand and S Indochina.
  • hainanus E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 - Hainan I.
  • ambiguus (Raffles, 1822) - Malay Peninsula and Sumatra.
  • sarawacensis Slater, 1885 - NW, NE & SE Borneo.
  • cinereus Vieillot, 1818 - Java and Lesser Sundas.
  • minor Temminck & Schlegel, 1848 - Russian Far East (C Amurland, Ussuriland), S Sakhalin I, NE & EC China (S to R Yangtze), Korea and Japan (S to Kyushu).
  • dageletensis Nagamichi Kuroda & Mori, 1920 - Dagelet I (E of S Korea).
  • kagoshimae Takatsukasa, 1919 - S Kyushu and Goto Is.
  • amamiensis O. Kleinschmidt, 1922 - N Ryukyu Is (Amami-oshima, Tokunoshima).
  • okinawae E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 - Okinawa, in C Ryukyus.
  • nigriloris Hellmayr, 1900 - S Ryukyus (Ishigaki, Iriomote).
  • tibetanus E. J. O. Hartert, 1905 - SW & SC China (SE & E Xizang, S & E Qinghai and W Sichuan S to Yunnan and W Guizhou) and N Myanmar.
  • commixtus Swinhoe, 1868 - NE Vietnam and SE China (E from Yunnan, S of R Yangtze).
  • nubicolus Meyer de Schauensee, 1946 - E Myanmar, N Thailand and NW Indochina.