This subfamily contains the Tits, the affinities of which with the Crows are recognized by all writers on ornithology.
Some species of Tits, like the Crows, are found over a very large portion of the surface of the globe. All the Indian species are resident.
The Parinae bear a close resemblance to each other, the different genera being characterized by the absence or presence of a crest and the shape of the tail.
The Tits live chiefly on insects, but they also eat seeds, and in hard weather no sort of food comes amiss to them. They all lay spotted eggs, but while some are content with a hole of a tree as a nesting-place, others construct elaborate rounded structures in trees, and the eggs in many cases are numerous. The young are con¬siderably paler than the adult, but the pattern of colour is well preserved in all the species.
The Tits have a short, conical and entire bill about one-third the Length of the head; the rictal bristles are short, and the bristles over the nostrils, though short, are very dense and straight. The wing is rounded and weak, and the tarsus scutellated.
In habits they are arboreal, seldom descending to the ground, and they are in some degree gregarious, being found frequently in parties of four or more.
Key to the Genera.
a. Head not crested.
a1. Tail rounded.
a2. Outer tail-feather falling short of tail-tip by Length of hind claw …………PARUS, p. 46.
b2. Outer tail-feather falling short of tail-tip by Length of hind toe and claw ………….AEGITHALISCUS, p. 50.
b1. Tail square or slightly forked ………….SYLVIPARUS, p. 53.
b. Head furnished with a full crest.
c1. Tail rounded………….MACHLOLOPHUS, p. 54.
d1. Tail square or slightly forked………….LOPHOPHANES, p. 67,