Ground Tit

Ground Tit
Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis, Qinghai Lake, Qinghai, China, elev. 3470 m (11,380 ft.), July. Adult. (Craig Brelsford)
Ground Tit
Juvenile, Qinghai, elev. 3210 m (10,540 ft.), July. (Craig Brelsford)
Ground Tit
Adult, Qinghai, July. (Craig Brelsford)

Formerly thought to be the world’s smallest crow, Ground Tit Pseudopodoces humilis is now regarded as the world’s largest tit. Ground Tit and the ground jays (Podoces) share certain similarities, particularly habitat, habits, and voice. In China, range of Ground Tit essentially coterminous with Tibetan Plateau, encompassing southwest Xinjiang, Tibet, Qinghai, western Sichuan, and northwest Yunnan, plus Gansu and southern Ningxia. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Treeless steppe between 3200 m (10,500 ft.) and 5500 m (18,050 ft.). Rarely near dense vegetation. Able to hop more than three times body length, further distinguishing it from ground jays, which prefer to stride. ID Has greyish-brown upperparts with whitish nape and crown and sandy neck sides. Pale fringes to flight feathers usually form wing panel; pale tips to greater coverts usually form wingbar. Black loral stripe (missing in juvenile) often stretches behind eye. Tail white with central feathers blackish-brown, obvious in flight. Underparts buffish-white. BARE PARTS Bill large, black, decurved like a chough’s; in juvenile, bill yellow and straighter. Feet black. VOICE Weak whistles and cheeps, plus two-note, finch-like call. — 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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