260. The Blue Titmouse.
Parus coeruleus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 341 (1766) ; Naum. iv. p. 62, Taf. 95, figs. 1, 2 ; Gould, B. of E. ii. pl. 154 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 24 ; Hewitson, i. p. 151, pl. xxxix. fig. 2 ; Newton, i. p. 483 ; Dresser, iii. p. 131, pl. 113, figs. 1, 2 ; Gadow, Cat. B. Br. Mus. viii. p. 12 ; Saunders, p. 109 ; Lilford, ii. p. 102, pl. 45.
Mesange bleue, French ; Cedovem pequeno, Portug. ; Herrerillo, Span. ; Cinciarella, Ital. ; Blaumeise, German ; Pimpel, Dutch ; Blaameise, Dan. and Norweg. ; Blames, Swed. ; Sinitiitinen, Finn. ; Sinitza-Lazorevka, Russ. ; Sikoramodra, Polish.
Male ad. (Holland). Crown, back of neck, and a band encircling the neck, chin and a line to the band bright blue ; forehead, a line encircling the crown and cheeks white ; a blue-black line from the lores through the eye to the nape ; back yellowish green the rump yellower ; wings and tail blackish margined with blue, the coverts and inner secondaries tipped with white ; under parts lemon-yellow, a dark bluish line along the middle of the abdomen ; bill blackish horn ; legs plumbeous ; iris dark brown. Culmen 0.4, wing 2.6, tail 3.1, tarsus 0.7 inch. Female similar.
Hab. Europe from 63° N. Lat. to the Mediterranean and east to Persia.
Active, restless, and cheerful, this is one of our best known birds, especially as it so frequently occurs in gardens and near inhabited dwellings. After the young are fledged they collect in small flocks, together with other Titmice and Goldcrests, and wander about during the winter in search of food, but in some parts they migrate regularly. They feed chiefly on insects and their larvae, but to some slight extent on berries, seeds, and fruit. Few birds are more useful in ridding gardens of insect pests. They are also very partial to picking an old bone if placed out for that purpose. The nest is constructed of moss, wool, and feathers, and is placed in any convenient hole in a tree or wall, or in an old pot or box if allowed to make use of such. The eggs, from 7 to 12, or 14, or occasionally even more, are deposited in April or May, and are white spotted with pale red, averaging in size about 0.57 by 0.45. Mr. Blanford separated the Persian bird, naming it P. persicus (Ibis, 1873, p. 89, E. Pers. pl. xvi., tig. 2), but after a careful comparison I cannot agree that it is separable from the European form.
260. Parus cAeruleus
260. The Blue Titmouse.