(60) Parus cyanus tianschanicus.
THE TIANSCHAN BLUE-TIT.
Cyanistes cyanus var. tianschanicus Menzbier, Bull. Soc. Zool. France, ix, p. 276 (1884) (Mountains of Central Asia).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. A thin line of deep blue running through the eye and over the ear-coverts in a narrow collar round the nape ; remainder of head pale vinous blue or blue-grey; back pale blue-grey ; upper tail-coverts bright dark blue, tipped with white ; outermost tail-feathers white, with the basal third of the inner web black; on each succeeding pair the white decreases and the black increases and becomes more blue, especially on the outer web, until the central rectrices are all "dark blue, except for broad white tips. Visible portion of closed wing deep blue, the quills edged with white on their terminal halves and the inner secondaries with bold white tips also ; greater coverts with similar tips making a broad bar of white across the wing.
Below pale vinous blue-grey with a broad patch of black on the abdomen forming an interrupted black median line on these parts.
Colours of soft parts. Bill slaty horn; irides brown ; legs and feet plumbeous.
Measurements. Wing about 75 mm., tail about 65 mm.; culmen about 7 mm.; tarsus about 15 mm.
Distribution. Tianschan, Turkestan, Afghanistan, Chitral.
Nidification. It is said to breed in May, laying 10 or 11 typical Blue-Tits' eggs, white spotted with red, in a nest of hair and grass in a hole. In size they seem to vary between 18.5 x 12.5 (Dybowski) and 14.8 X 11.5 mm. (Rey).
Habits. Those of the genus. They are found at considerable elevations, certainly up to 12,000 feet, descending lower in winter, especially in the most northern parts of their habitat where they may be found at the level of the Plains. Fulton obtained five young birds in Chitral, at 10,000 feet in July 1902; he reports that this Tit was common there in the river-bed, where they were frequenting dense scrub of willow, juniper and birch.
Key to Subspecies.
A. Back grey, tinged with olive-green P. p. korejewi, p. 82.
B. Back olive-brown, much darker P.p. paecilopsis p. 82.