Marsh Tit (Poecile palustris)

Marsh Tit

Marsh Tit

The Marsh Tit (Poecile palustris) is a small bird occurring through much of temperate Europe and northern Asia. The species is closely related to the Willow Tit (Poecile montanus) and very similar in appearance. In general, the Marsh Tit lacks a pale wing panel, has a glossier black cap, a smaller black spot underneath the bill, and apparently a smaller head compared to the Willow Tit. However, these differences are so small that researchers in the UK did not consider both as distinct species until the end of the 19th century. In contrast to their name, Marsh Tits inhabit a series of habitats including woodlands, riverside forests, parks, and gardens. The birds are omnivores feeding mainly on spiders, insects, seed, nuts, and berries. If supply is sufficient, they collect and store food particles for later consumption. They are monogamous and seem to pair for life quite commonly. I have photographed these pretty little birds during bad winter weather in northern Germany (December 2014).

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8 responses to “Marsh Tit (Poecile palustris)

  1. Very similar to the Black-capped chickadee of North America (Poecile atricapilla). I didn’t realize European tits looked like chickadees! (Plus this is an awesome photo)

  2. Some lovely images. Interesting to read the comparison with the American Chickadee species. The confusion species here in the UK is the almost identical, but increasingly scarce, Willow Tit. At any distance the two are only separable by call, but these close up images show the small white spot on the lower mandible of the bill – one of the few features that reliably separates Marsh from Willow

    • Hey Bill – thanks for your comment, I am glad you like the photographs. Unfortunately, the weather was very bad… I have also written a few sentences on the Willow Tit in this post. It is really quite difficult to distinguish both species – and I have read that in the UK they even look more similar to each other than in the rest of Europe…

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