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Penduline Titmice: Remizidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Penduline tits are very active and quick birds. They are usually found in pairs or in small groups for most of the year. Species that live in forests are found in the tree canopy (treetops). Because of their ability to move quickly and skillfully, penduline tits easily move through branches and the undersides of twigs and branches. They often roost in groups at night. Penduline tits that live in northern temperate (mild) climates migrate during the breeding season. Others that live in warmer climates are generally sedentary (tend not to migrate, move seasonally). The birds are fairly quiet but do sometimes give out high-pitched calls and songs that range from various notes to others that only repeat certain notes. They sometimes sound a "ti ti ti" followed by a short whistle.

During the breeding season, penduline tits are territorial, but only defend a small area just around the nest. Since the birds use only a small nesting area, other penduline tits will nest close by in a colony-type arrangement; that is where large numbers of birds nest together. The mating system is very complex. Penduline tits can be monogamous (muh-NAH-guh-mus; having one mate) or polygamous (puh-LIH-guh-mus; having more than one mate). Breeding takes place from April to July in northern temperate climates, while in African species, breeding depends on local climates (with some species breeding during the wet season and others breeding during the dry season).

The nests of penduline tits are "pendulous" (meaning that they hang loosely from a base). Nests are found in many different locations such as branches of trees and shrubs and reeds along waters. The shape of nests are usually teardrop or pear-like with a hole near the top; except for one species that builds a cup-shaped nest, which does not hang. A ledge is sometimes built near the entrance, which is fastened together for protection from its enemies. Penduline tits make nests from plant matter that is pressed flat to produce a strong outside covering. It is lined inside with soft grasses, mosses, and lichens (plants growing on rocks).

Females lay white eggs with red spots, except for the species verdin, whose eggs are bluish green. Females lay two to nine eggs. The incubation period (time it takes to sit on eggs before hatching) is between thirteen and seventeen days, and the nestling period (time necessary to take care of young birds before they can leave the nest) is about eighteen days. The caring of the chicks is performed by both parents, with some species using helpers to assist the parents.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsPenduline Titmice: Remizidae - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Penduline Titmice And People, Verdin (auriparus Flaviceps): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS