Chinese Penduline Tit

Chinese Penduline Tit
Chinese Penduline Tit Remiz consobrinus, male, Jiangsu, China, April. (Craig Brelsford)
Chinese Penduline Tit
Female, Shanghai, March. (Craig Brelsford)
Chinese Penduline Tit
Male prying open reed stem, Jiangsu, April. (Craig Brelsford)

Chinese Penduline Tit Remiz consobrinus is similar to White-crowned Penduline Tit R. coronatus. The ranges of the two species, however, are widely separated, except in Ningxia; but White-crowned is in northern Ningxia, Chinese in south. Also breeds eastern Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang, northwest Jilin, and southern Liaoning. Winters mainly along middle and lower Yangtze valley, also Yunnan around Salween River. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Occurs at lower altitudes and is more tied to reedbeds than White-crowned Penduline Tit. Also in marshes and thickets, even woodlands, but almost invariably near wetlands. In winter forms large flocks. ID & COMPARISON Male has black bandit’s mask that never extends to back of crown or nape (broader mask of White-crowned can extend to nape and rear crown). Mask bordered white all around; crown and nape grey. Mantle and back become rich chestnut when fresh buff fringes are worn off. Rump buff. Flight and tail feathers blackish, but pale fringes form extensive buff wing panel; tertials also bordered buff. Wing coverts black and chestnut; buff tips to greater coverts form wing bar. Underparts creamy white. Female duller, crown and nape browner, mask brown, wings and body more uniformly buffish. Juvenile almost entirely buff (but with wing pattern similar to adult), lacks mask, and is virtually indistinguishable from juvenile White-crowned. Plumage differences between sexes discernible by first winter. BARE PARTS Thin, conical bill pale grey basally, with dark upper and lower ridge; feet grey. VOICE Very similar to White-crowned, with mellow, thin trills and whistles. Most common call, often heard in flight, a soft and thin tsiiiuu, descending in pitch. — Craig Brelsford

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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