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Fire-capped Tit

Cephalopyrus flammiceps

The fire-capped tit (Cephalopyrus flammiceps) is a small, 10 cm long, weighing about 7 g bird species assigned to the family Paridae, that breeds in the temperate forest bordering the Himalayas to the south, in the Hengduan Shan and Nujiang Shan on the Myanmar-China border, the Micah Shan and Daba Shan on the Northern Sichuan border. It winters down hill and further south. Further to the east, birds tend to be smaller and the plumage becomes gradually darker.

Outside the breeding season (September–January), in males the crown is dark olive-brown, with a yellowish olive-green border. The upper parts are yellowish to olive-green. The rump yellowish to olive-golden yellow. The longest tail feathers are dark gray. The tail is dark olive-brown, all the feathers being tipped with white. The wings are the same color as the tail, but with olive-yellow edging larger or smaller on all blankets and feathers. The throat is white. Chest, belly and flanks show a yellow lemon, contrasting with the gray of the thighs, anal area and the underside of the tail.

In breeding plumage (February–July), the male has a slight orange-scarlet colored crest. The eyebrow and around the eye is golden yellow tinged with red. The cheeks, ear coverts and sides of the neck are olive-yellow. The chin and upper throat are orange chrome, melting into golden yellow chest. The sides of the chest and the upper sides are yellow-olive. The rear flanks and belly are pale yellow. The tips of the tail and wing feathers are white but worn.

Year round, the iris is brown to dark brown, the bill dark blue-gray with a darker tip. Legs and feet are dark blue-gray. The underwing coverts are white with a yellow fringe tip.

Outside the breeding season, the female is not very different from her partner, although the upper parts (including the cheeks, brow and sides of the neck) are olive-green gray. The chin and throat are whitish gray, blending into the dull gray of the rest of the underparts. The chest is yellow-tinged olive, the upper sides and belly are pale yellow tinged. The axillary and the underside of the wings are gray.

In breeding plumage, the forehead is yellow-olive drab. The top of the lower parts (chin and throat chest) olive-yellow contrasts sharply with the belly and anal area whitish yellow.

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Fire-capped Tits on Birda

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Profile picture for Nichelle Eutsler
Nichelle Eutsler
11 Mar 2023 - 8:42am

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