Cyanistes caeruleus Linnaeus, 1758 ♂
Cyanistes caeruleus Linnaeus, 1758 ♂
Common names: Blue Tit [En], Mésange bleue [Fr], Pimpelmees [Nl], Blaumeise [De], Cinciarella [It], Herrerillo común [Es], Γαλαζοπαπαδίτσα [Gr], Mavi baştankara [Tu]
IUCN Conservation Status : LC (Least Concern)
Margaret Park, BUDAPEST ● Hungary
Description: The Blue Tit is a 10.5 to 12 cm (4.2 to 4.8 inches,). The azure blue crown and dark blue line passing through the eye and encircling the white cheeks to the chin give the Blue Tit a very distinctive appearance. The forehead and a bar on the wing are white. The nape, wings and tail are blue; the back is yellowish green; the under parts mostly sulphur-yellow with a dark line down the abdomen. The bill is black, the legs bluish grey, and the irides dark brown. Young Blue Tits are noticeably more yellow.
There are at least nine recognised subspecies:
• C. c. caeruleus Linnaeus, 1758: the nominate subspecies, occurring in Continental Europe to north Spain, Sicily, north Turkey and north Urals
• C. c. obscurus Prazák, 1894: Ireland, Britain and Channel Islands
• C. c. ogilastrae Hartert, 1905: Portugal, s Spain, Corsica and Sardinia
• C. c. balearicus von Jordans, 1913: Majorca Island (Balearic Islands)
• C. c. calamensis Parrot, 1908: South Greece, Pelopónnisos, Cyclades, Crete and Rhodes
• C. c. orientalis Zarudny & Loudon, 1905: South European Russia (Volga River to central and south Urals)
• C. c. satunini Zarudny, 1908: Crimean Peninsula, Caucasus, Transcaucasia and nw Iran to e Turkey
• C. c. raddei Zarudny, 1908: North Iran
• C. c. persicus Blanford, 1873: Zagros Mountains
Biology: It swings beneath the holder, calling tee, tee, tee or a scolding churr.
It will nest in any suitable hole in a tree, wall, or stump, or an artificial nest box, often competing with House Sparrows or Great Tits for the site.
The nesting material is usually moss, wool, hair and feathers. Blue Tits bring also to the nest plant material that has volatile compounds that protect the host and their offspring against parasitic organisms. A study shows that blue tits on the island of Corsica (Parus caeruleus ogliastrae) adorn their nests with fragments of aromatic plants. These plants have chemical compounds that are used by humans to make aromatic house cleaners and herbal medicines. Individual blue tits maintain an aromatic nest environment when offspring are raised, using odour cues to determine the frequency with which they replenish the nest with fresh plant material. It is an exceptional example of the ecologically relevant use of olfaction by birds under natural conditions.
The eggs are laid in April or May. The number in the clutch is often very large, but seven or eight are normal, and bigger clutches are usually laid by two or even more hens.
Blue and Great Tits form mixed winter flocks, and the former are perhaps the better gymnasts in the slender twigs. A Blue Tit will often ascend a trunk in short jerky hops, imitating a Treecreeper. The Blue Tit is a valuable destroyer of pests, though it has not an entirely clean sheet as a beneficial species. It is fond of young buds of various trees, and may pull them to bits in the hope of finding insects. No species, however, destroys more coccids and aphids, the worst foes of many plants. It takes leaf miner grubs and green tortrix moths (Tortricidae). Seeds are eaten, as with all this family.
Habitat: Deciduous or mixed woodlands. This is a common and popular European garden bird, due to its perky acrobatic performances when feeding on nuts or suet.
Distribution: It is a widespread and common resident breeder throughout temperate and subarctic Europe and western Asia. It is a resident bird, i.e., most birds do not migrate.
Wikipedia, Blue Tit
Petit, C., Hossaert-McKey, M., Perret, P., Blondel, J. and Lambrechts, M. M., 2002. Blue tits use selected plants and olfaction to maintain an aromatic environment for nestlings. Ecology Letters, 5: 585–589. doi: 10.1046/j.1461-0248.2002.00361.x