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White-naped tit

Parus nuchalis
Photo by Arpit Deomurari (Avian Diversity)

Common name:
white-naped tit (en); chapim-d’asa-branca (pt); mésange à ailes blanches (fr); carbonero nuquiblanco (es); weißflügelmeise (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Paridae

This species is endemic to India, where it occurs in two isolated populations. One in the north-west of the country, in central and southern Rajasthan, Kutch and northern Gujarat, and another in the south, in the Eastern Ghats of southern Andhra Pradesh, northern Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

These birds are 12-13 cm long and weigh 13-14,5 g.

The white-naped tit is mostly found in dry thorn-scrub forests, mainly Acacia. They also use deciduous woodlands, gardens and orchards and even river beds and irrigated crops. They occur from sea level up to an altitude of 700 m.

They mainly feed on insects and berries, but are also known to eat nectar.

White-naped tits breed in May-October. They nest in tree cavities, often in old woodpecker nests, which they line with plant fibres, down, animal hair and wool. The nest is usually 2-5 m above the ground. The female lays 3-6 eggs, which are incubated for 12 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 12-14 days after hatching, but continue to be fed for at least another 6-7 days.

IUCN status – VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a restricted and fragmented breeding range and the global population is estimated at just 2.500-10.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be declining rapidly as a result of habitat loss and degradation through wood-cutting for fuel wood and illegal charcoal making, clearance for agriculture and settlement construction, and over-grazing. Mining activities and the spread of exotic scrubs such as Prosopis glandulosa and P. chilensis may also have negative impacts on this species.

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