OTHER NAMES

English: Bearded tit, marsh pheasant (East Anglia); French: Mesange a moustaches; German: Bartmeise; Spanish: Bigotudo.

TAXONOMY

Parus biarmicus Linnaeus, 1758, Holstein. Three subspecies. Some classification methods have placed this species and different parrotbills in separate household (Panuridae or Paradoxornithidae), however Delacour thought-about them subfamily inside babblers. DNA hybridization analysis suggests they could belong in the identical subfamily (Timaliinae) as most babblers.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5 in (12.7 cm). Highly ####ually dimorphic. Male unmistakable: distinctive elongated black feathers in entrance of eye droop down to chest, forming a “moustache” that contrasts strikingly with orange eyes and invoice; grey head, white throat, heat brown mantle, rump, and tail, black-white-and-brown-patterned wings, and black vent. Female: long-tailed, compact-bodied chook like male, with equally patterned wings, and orange eyes and invoice, however in any other case typically buffy-brown. Juvenile male very distinct: grey eyes set in black masks, black again, black on tail, and general golden coloration. Legs black and unusually lengthy.

DISTRIBUTION

Scattered vary in British Isles and western and central Europe, then broadly across central and northeastern Asia to the Pacific (Bokai Sea). Accidental to Japan.

HABITAT

Wetlands, particularly Phragmites reed beds.

BEHAVIOR

European populations primarily nonmigratory, however inclined to wander in winter, and extreme climate might trigger wholesale relocations. East Asian populations seem to often migrate from inside to coast in winter. Highly gregarious and social outside of breeding season. Complex sequence of communication calls and shows. Usual flock measurement 10–20. Noted for skillful negotiation by means of reed beds, usually greedy a distinct stalk in every foot. Also able to what Otto Koenig termed “flutterswimming,” ought to chook fall in water.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Remarkable seasonal modifications in digestive tract. Winter food regimen largely Phragmites, Typha and rush (Juncus) seeds. Stomach then muscular and hard-walled, and chook ingests quite a few small stones. During the rest of year, when food regimen is generally bugs, spiders, and snails, abdomen is smaller, flaccid, and incorporates no, or fewer, stones. Forages each on the bottom and in vegetation.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Adapted to produce massive numbers of offspring shortly, in response to comparatively unstable surroundings. Regularly hatches three broods a year, generally 4, and younger from earliest clutch might themselves breed earlier than finish of season, in fall. Pairs mate for all times, however nest in unfastened colonies with out territorial boundaries. Nest is a deep cup of reed leaves and different vegetation, lined with reed flower-heads and feathers, placed deep amidst plant stalks, above water, or on land, constructed by each members of pair, who proceed to add materials all through 10–14 day incubation interval. Four to eight pale, streaked, and speckled eggs incubated by each dad and mom, who additionally increase chick collectively.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened, however distinctive, pink-bellied southern Turkish P. biarmicus kosswigi seems to be extinct. In early nineteenth century widespread alongside the Thames, from the estuary to Oxford, however British Isles inhabitants lowered to two to 4 pairs in East Anglia by 1948 due to marsh and fen draining, exhausting winters, and personal and industrial egg collectors. Since then British inhabitants has elevated to greater than 500 pairs, not less than partially recolonized from continental Europe throughout exhausting winter dispersals. German vary has expanded for the reason that 1950s. All European populations are carefully monitored.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Since the 1990s massive numbers have been out there cheaply from People’s Republic of China for the captive-bird commerce. Export prohibited by China in 2001, however might proceed from Russian Federation.