Ashy Tits

Ashy Tit (Parus cinerascens)
Tits, Chickadees, and Titmice

The Ashy Tits (Parus cinerascens) - also known as Acacia Grey Tits or Ashy Grey Tits - are endemic to Southern Africa, specifically the countries of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.

They inhabit Acacia woodland (including those along drainage lines), savannas, and gardens with Acacia trees. They usually occur in pairs or small groups.


Subspecies and Distribution:

  • Parus cinerascens cinerascens (Vieillot, 1818) - Nominate Form
    • Found in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and northern South Africa (south to northern Cape, Free State and Mpumalanga).
  • Parus cinerascens benguelae (B. P. Hall and Traylor, 1959)
    • Range: Extreme north-western Namibia, and south-western Angola.
  • Parus cinerascens orphnus (Clancey, 1958) - Disputed race
    • Range: South-eastern (highveld) part of the range in South Africa
    • ID: Darker than the nominate form, purer white face and greyer upper plumage.

Description

Ashy Tits measure about 6 inches (15 cm) in height and weigh around 0.7 - 0.8 oz (19 - 22 grams).

The head and back are blue-black and the throat is blue. There is a broad white band from the base of the bill to the sides of the neck. The back is grey.

The legs are grey and the eyes are brown.


Nesting / Breeding

Most breeding occurs from September to March. The average clutch consists of 3 - 6 eggs placed on a pad of fine plant material at the bottom of a tree cavity (often an abandoned barbet of woodpecker nest).


Diet / Feeding

Ashy Tits mostly feed on insects, including butterflies, bees, wasps, locusts and ants. Flying insects are mostly hawked aerially (hunted in flight), killed and then eaten. They will also take them from the ground or pick them from foliage. They will also eat some fruits.

Feeding often occurs in mixed-species flocks.


Alternate (Global) Names

Afrikaans: Acaciagrysmees, Akasiagrysmees ... Chinese: 阿卡山雀 ... Czech: Sýkora akáciová ... Danish: Akaciemejse ... Dutch: Acaciamees, Acacia-mees ... Estonian: akaatsia-halltihane ... Finnish: Akaasiatiainen ... French: Mésange cendrée ... German: Akazienmeise, Aschenmeise ... Italian: Cincia cenerina, Cincia grigia delle acacie ... Japanese: haiirogara ... Norwegian: Askemeis ...Polish: sikora szara ... Portuguese: Chapim cinzento, Chapim-cinzento ... Russian: Пепельная синица ... Slovak: sýkorka popolavá ... Spanish: Carbonero Cinéreo, Herrerillo Gris ...Swedish: Akaciames


Additional Web Resources


Species Research by Sibylle Johnson

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