White-crowned Penduline Tit

White-crowned Penduline Tit
White-crowned Penduline Tit Remiz coronatus, Xinjiang, China, May. (Craig Brelsford)

White-crowned Penduline Tit Remiz coronatus is similar to Chinese Penduline Tit R. consobrinus. The ranges of the two species, however, are widely separated, except in Ningxia, where a disjunct population of White-crowned (race stoliczkae) occurs; but Chinese is in southern Ningxia, White-crowned in north. Apart from Ningxia, White-crowned in China breeds only in Xinjiang, with stoliczkae in foothills of Altai (Burqin), Tianshan, Altun, and Kunlun; also Yarkant valley, Kashgar Prefecture. Nominate also in Xinjiang, breeding only in Ili Valley near border with Kazakhstan. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Occurs at higher altitudes (to 2400 m or 7,870 ft.) and less tied to reedbeds than Chinese Penduline Tit. Male often builds several elaborate hanging nests, using the down of poplars and willows as material, completing the one the female chooses. ID & COMPARISON Male has white head with black band on forehead and black bandit’s mask that in worn plumage can become complete nuchal band. (Chinese Penduline Tit never has black on rear crown or nape.) Crown always white; white collar separates nuchal band from chestnut mantle. Back and 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 whitish with some chestnut spotting on breast. Female duller, with crown flecked grey and less extensive bandit’s mask. Juvenile almost entirely buff, but with wing pattern similar to adult’s; virtually indistinguishable from juvenile Chinese. BARE PARTS Thin and conical bill pale grey basally, with dark upper and lower ridge; feet grey. VOICE Very similar to Chinese, 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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