Siberian Tit X Willow Tit Hybrid

How Rare?

Siberian X Willow Tit hybrid MG1Presumed hybrid Willow Tit X Siberian Tit, Kate’s garden, Nesseby, Gullfest ll. March 2013 (taken through living room window).

Svensson 1992 (ID Guide to European Passerines) say ‘reported very rarely’. Harrap and Quinn (Tits, Nuthatches and Treecreepers) 1996 says ‘…mixed pairs [of Siberian Tit] with Willow Tit perhaps not infrequent but usually unsuccessful.’ Either way a fun one to identify and virtually our last ‘new bird’ in Varanger on our Gullfest Epilogue, March 2013. On our last evening on the great peninsula we called in on Kate Utsi’s garden as she had established rep with the birds of making yummy fat cakes. Sure enough 2 Arctic Redpoll were there and then what looked like a Willow Tit appeared at the back. Soon in fuller view it wasn’t quite right. The cap looked black but lacked the ‘super’ head of the loennbergi type ‘Silver’ Willow Tits we were used to. The back was almost a dull brownish colour and there was a little too much warmth on the flanks. I watched and manged a couple of OK photos (taken through Kate’s lounge window  and concluded (I think) that it seemed to best fit a hybrid…

All present agreed. Curiously it also sported a metal ring. Aha- so to the ringers from last autumn at Nesseby we inquired  And lo, it was indeed ringed as a Willow Tit (unsurprising as not wholly dissimilar to British Willow Tits ssp. kleinschmidti), however the in-hand photos reveal the same mix of characters visible in Kate’s garden. Surely a hybrid between Willow and Siberian Tit.

What do you think? Click on the montage below to see it properly.

Siberian and Willow Tits plus hybrid Arctic Norway.

bildePresumed hybrid Willow Tit X Siberian Tit, but ringed as Willow Tit, Nesseby, August 2012.

So following our sighting, Anders, Tormod and others returned a few days ago to try and catch it- and they did:

bilde (2)Presumed hybrid Willow Tit X Siberian Tit, retrapped, Nesseby, March 2013

P.S. the fun of… Always Discovering!

Did you miss the Gullfest Story? LOADS more here.

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About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
This entry was posted in Arctic Norway, Gullfest, Tits, Varanger. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Siberian Tit X Willow Tit Hybrid

  1. Toni Eskelin says:

    Hi!
    Willow Tit x Siberian Tit hybrids are the most common hybrids between Tits in Finland.Up to and including 2011 56 individuals have been ringed in the country, both as nestlings and during invasions. In comparison only 4 Willow Tit x Coal Tit and 1 Willow Tit x Crested Tit hybrids have been ringed.

  2. Vincent Hart says:

    Hi Martin, had just read this when I stumbled upon this lovely creature: http://waarneming.nl/waarneming/view/74594070?lang=en&local=nl. Scared me for a moment 😉

    Take care, Vincent

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