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Ashy Tit - BirdForum Opus

Photo by charelli
Namibia, September 2012
Melaniparus cinerascens


Length 15 cm, mass 19-22 g.

Adult: Crown and lores to nape blue-black, hind neck white. Broad white band from the base of the bill to the sides of the neck. Mantle, back, and rump grey; flight feathers and primary coverts grey-black (brownish when worn) edged white to buff. Chin, throat, centre of breast and centre of belly black; flanks and sides of belly and breast grey. Bill black, eyes brown and legs and feet grey.


South African interior, Botswana, central Zimbabwe, Namibia and coastal south-western Angola.


Melaniparus cinerascens has three subspecies:

  • M. c. cinerascens from most of the species range;
  • M. c. orphnus from the south-eastern (highveld) part of the range in South Africa, is darker than the nominate; and
  • M. c. benguelae from extreme north-western Namibia, and south-western Angola.

Formerly placed in genus Parus.


Acacia woodland (including those along drainage lines) and savanna and gardens with Acacias.


Found in pairs or small groups. Forages mainly for insects and other invertebrates, also some fruit; often in mixed-species flocks.

Breeding: Possibly a cooperative breeder. The nest is a pad of fine material at the bottom of a cavity, usually in a tree (often an old barbet of woodpecker nest). Three to six eggs are laid September to March.


Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ & Ryan PG (eds) 2005. Robert's Birds of Southern Africa, 7th edition. John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa. ISBN 0620340533

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