[order] Passeriformes | [family] Paridae | [latin] Parus cinctus | [UK] Siberian Tit | [FR] Mésange lapone | [DE] Lapplandsmeise | [ES] Carbonero lapón | [IT] Cincia siberiana | [NL] Bruinkopmees

Bruinkopmees determination

copyright: K. Blomerley

Slightly shorter overall than Great Tit, noticeably larger and much longer-tailed than Willow Tit, though with similar proportions of head and body. Rather large, long, bulky, and often fluffy tit, with plumage pattern basically like black-capped species but with dusky-brown crown and nape and much warmer buff-brown back and flank.

In west Palearctic sector of extensive range, inhabits high latitudes with cool boreal climate up to July isotherm of 10°C in high coniferous taiga, but also occurs in broad-leaved trees along banks of rivers running through coniferous forest. In winter in arctic Lapland, wanders over wide area of forest of pine and spruce at lower altitudes, contrasting with Willow Tit in not being a bird of birch forest. Will range beyond taiga into stunted forest, but becomes rare near northern forest limits, and remains at all times arboreal. Independent of man except locally where making use of refuse, and in very severe weather north of the arctic circle coming into small towns where food is supplied.

Parus cinctus is a widespread resident in the boreal zone of Fennoscandia and Russia, with Europe accounting for less than a quarter of its global range. Its European breeding population is large (>870,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although the Swedish population declined during 1990-2000 and the trend of the stronghold population in Russia was unknown, the species was stable in Norway and Finland, and there is no evidence to suggest that it declined overall.

Small invertebrates and seeds; in winter also feeds at refuse tips and bird tables. Food stored throughout year at tips of twigs in needles, in crevices on branch or trunk, in clumps of lichen. Items stored all over territory, usually 3-4 items at each site, and each site used once only. Most activity takes place April-May (mainly caterpillars plus some seeds from opening cones) and August-November (insects, caterpillars, and spiders, which are killed before storage). Stores hardly exploited outside winter. Apparently each bird finds own store.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 500,000-5,000,000 individuals (Rich et al. 2003). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

In Finland laying may begin early May, but usually late May, extending to early June. The breeding season in Norway and Russia similar, one brood only. Nest is a hole in tree (conifer, birch, aspen), often decaying stump, natural cavity or old hole of woodpecker, 0.3-5 m above ground. The cavity is often cleaned out and rotten wood removed. Also uses nest-boxes. Nest is typically of 3 layers, with base of decayed wood (including nests in nest-boxes), below variable amount of moss or grass (amount adjusted to size of cavity) and thick cup of hair. Clutch size: 6-10 (4-11) eggs which are incubated 15-18 days, the young fledge after 19-20 days.

Chiefly sedentary and to some extent nomadic outside breeding season. More extensive movements southwards, especially of juveniles, recorded for some populations when numbers high.