243. Marsh Titmouse.
Parus palustris, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 341 (1766) ; Naum. iv. p. 50, Taf. 94. fig. 2 ; Hewitson, i. p. 157, pl. xl. fig. 1 ; Gould, B. of E. iii. pl. 155. fig. 2 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. xxvii ; Newton, i. p. 495 ; Dresser, iii. p. 99, pts. 108, 109, figs. 1, 2 ; Gadow. Cat. B. Br. Mus. viii. p. 49 ; Saunders, p. 107 ; Lilford, ii. p. 106, pl. 46 ; P. meridionalis, Liljeb. Naumannia, ii. p. 100 (1852) ; P. dresseri, Stejneger, Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. ix. p. 200 (1886).
Mesange nonnette, French ; Herrerillo, Span. ; Cincia-bigia, Ital. ; Sumpfmeise, German ; Zwartkopmees, Dutch ; Sumpmeise, Dan. and Norweg. ; Karrmes, Swed. ; Ko-gara, Jap. ; Bolotnaya sinitchka, Russ.
Male ad. (Sweden). Crown to beyond the. occiput and upper throat deep black with a strong gloss ; upper parts greyish brown, tinged with olive, paler on lower back and rump ; wings and tail greyish brown, with paler external margins ; tail even ; sides of the head and of the neck white ; under parts dull white ; the flanks and under tail-coverts washed with pale buff ; bill blackish ; legs plumbeous ; iris brown. Crimen 0.35, wing 2.25, tail 1.85, tarsus 0.55 inch.
Hab. Europe, from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean ; Asia Minor, and Asia as far east as Japan, subject, however, to slight climatic variations as below stated.
In habits this Titmouse differs but little from its allies, in company with which it is often seen during its winter wander¬ings. It frequents woods, especially in damp localities, gardens, orchards, hedge-rows, etc., and is less often seen in high forest trees than the Coal Titmouse. It feeds on insects of various kinds, their larvae and eggs, and to some extent also on seeds. Active and restless, it is extremely sociable, and when wander¬ing about in the autumn and winter, consorts freely with other species of Titmouse and Goldcrests. It is as a rule resident, not migrating in autumn, but only wandering about the country. Its call-note is a long-drawn pey, pey, and its song, if such it may be termed, sis, sis, sis. Its nest is usually placed in the hole of a tree, generally near the ground, but I have found them at considerable altitudes, sometimes in a deserted rat’s hole or other hole in the ground. It is constructed of small twigs, bits of grass, moss, wool, hair, or thistle down, varying in size according to locality, and the eggs from 6 to 10 or even 12 in number are white, spotted with dull red, the spots being sometimes more numerous round the larger end, and are usually deposited in May, but two broods are sometimes reared in the season. In size they average about 0.63 by 0.48.
Few groups have been subjected to more subdivision than the Marsh Titmice, and long articles on them have been published by Messrs. Brehm, De Selys-Longchamps, Fatio-Beaumont, Seebohm, Prazak, Dr. Kleinschmidt, and others, and I may refer my readers who may wish to study the various forms to Dr. Kleinschmidt’s article (Orn. Jahrb. 1897, pp. 45-103), as it contains the latest information on the subject. He divides them into two groups, Parus meridionalis (P. palustris, auctt.) and Parus salicarius (P. borealis, auctt.), and subdivides the former into the following subspecies, viz. P. dresseri (Great Britain), P. dresseri longirostris (France and Rhineland), P. meridionalis subpalustris (Germany, except the extreme N.E. and extreme W.), P. meridionalis (S. Sweden, E. Prussia, Livonia), P. communis stagnatilis (Galicia, Sieben-burgen, Servia, Bosnia). P. communis (Swiss Alps and Austria), P. brevirostris (Irkutsk, Baikal), P. brevirostris crassirostris (Sidemi. S.E. Siberia, Ussuri. Corea), P. seebohmi (N. Japan, Yesso and Kuriles), P. hensoni (S. part of X. Japan, Yesso, Hakodadi. and S. Japan), P. spec. nov. (Peking).
After a careful examination of these forms I have elected to unite all the former under P. palustris.
243. Parus palustris
243. Marsh Titmouse.