Long-tailed Tit - Witkopstaartmees

Long-tailed Tit


Aegithalos c. caudatus

Pictures: Teus Luijendijk


6 February 2004, Katwijk aan Zee ZH


6 February 2004, Katwijk aan Zee ZH

Long-tailed Tit is a common (breeding) bird in The Netherlands. The subspecies occurring here is europaeus, (among others) recognizable by a broad blackish supercilium. The white-headed subspecies caudatus  however, is a rare winter migrant. Several are reported every winter, but detailed documentation of these birds was hardly ever managed, so it became quite unclear what the actual status of this pretty subspecies was. Recently, several flocks of caudatus  birds were reported (among others at Eemshaven Gr and Makkum Fr). Several of these were well photographed.
Hybrids of the two subspecies are not uncommon and until very recently it was totally unclear what exactly were the field characters of such intermediate birds. Apparently, these are (some of) the plumage characters to focus on:

  • any black on the head,
  • tertials that aren't largely snow-white,
  • an obvious smudgy belly, especially darkish streaks
    are indicative of the bird not being a true caudatus.

    More of this material is to be published soon, in an article in preparation by J. Jansen.

      Long-tailed Tit  -  Witkopstaartmees  Aegithalos c. caudatus    videograbs (20x).
      Katwijk aan Zee ZH, The Netherlands, 6 February 2004.


    Copyright ©Teus Luijendijk 2004