Great tit Parus major, photographed by Luc Viatour.

Belongs within: Sylvioidea.

The Paridae, tits, are a family of mostly very small, often boldly patterned birds found in Eurasia, Africa and North America. Most species have short, stout, pointed bills with the nostrils partially concealed by feathers, and rounded wings with the outermost of the ten primary feathers only half the length of the second. They are mostly cavity nesters (Austin 1961).

    |--Sylviparus Burton 1836 JT12, B94
    |    `--S. modestus JF06
    `--+--Pseudopodoces humilis (Hume 1871) JT12, N10 [=Podoces humilis N10]
       `--+--Melanochlora sultanea (Hodgs. 1836) JT12, W66 [=Parus sultaneus W66; incl. P. flavocristatus W66]
          `--Parus Linnaeus 1758 M02
               |  i. s.: P. bokharensis D51
               |         P. carpi JT12
               |         P. cinerascens JT12
               |         P. cinereus B66
               |         P. fringillinus JT12
               |         P. griseiventris JT12
               |         P. hypermelaenus JT12
               |         P. leucomelas JT12
               |         P. leuconotus Guérin-Méneville 1843 [incl. P. dorsatus Rüppell 1845] S05
               |         P. minor D51
               |         P. nuchalis JT12
               |         P. semilarvatus JT12
               |         P. songarus SB98
               |         P. teneriffae JT12
               |         P. thruppi JT12
               |--+--P. caeruleus Linnaeus 1758 JF06, M02
               |  `--P. cyanus JF06
               `--+--+--+--P. fasciiventer JF06
                  |  |  |  `--P. rufiventris JT12
                  |  |  `--+--P. funereus JF06
                  |  |     `--+--P. albiventris JF06
                  |  |        `--P. niger JF06
                  |  `--+--+--P. monticolus JT12
                  |     |  `--+--P. major Linnaeus 1758 JT12, M02
                  |     |     |    |--P. m. major VP89
                  |     |     |    `--P. m. commixtus VP89
                  |     |     `--P. palustris JT12 [=Poecile palustris JF06]
                  |     `--+--P. afer JF06
                  |        `--+--P. holsti JF06
                  |           `--+--P. spilonotus JF06
                  |              |    |--P. s. spilonotus VP89
                  |              |    `--P. s. rex VP89
                  |              `--P. xanthogenys JF06
                  `--+--+--+--P. cristatus (Linnaeus 1758) JT12, M02 [=Lophophanes cristatus JF06]
                     |  |  `--P. dichrous JT12 [=Lophophanes dichrous JF06]
                     |  `--Baeolophus JT12
                     |       |--B. wollweberi [=Parus wollweberi] JF06
                     |       `--+--+--B. atricristatus JT12
                     |          |  `--B. bicolor [=Parus bicolor] JF06
                     |          `--+--B. inornatus [=Parus inornatus] JF06
                     |             `--B. ridgwayi JT12
                     `--+--+--+--P. venustulus JT12
                        |  |  `--+--P. amabilis JT12 [=Periparus amabilis JF06]
                        |  |     `--P. elegans JT12 [=Periparus elegans JF06]
                        |  `--+--+--P. ater Linnaeus 1758 JT12, M02 [=Periparus ater JF06]
                        |     |  |    |--P. a. ater VP89
                        |     |  |    `--P. a. kuatunensis VP89
                        |     |  `--P. melanolophus [=Periparus melanolophus] JF06
                        |     `--+--P. rubidiventris JT12 [=Periparus rubidiventris JF06]
                        |        `--P. rufonuchalis JT12 [=Periparus rufonuchalis JF06]
                        `--+--+--P. lugubris JT12 [=Poecile lugubris] JF06
                           |  |    |--P. l. lugubris M02
                           |  |    `--P. l. fossilis Čapek 1917 M02
                           |  `--+--P. superciliosus JT12 [=Poecile superciliosus JF06]
                           |     `--P. varius JT12 [=Poecile varius JF06]
                           |          |--P. v. varius I92
                           |          |--P. v. namiyei Kuroda 1918 I92
                           |          |--P. v. olivaceus (Kuroda 1923) I92
                           |          |--P. v. orii (Kuroda 1923) I92
                           |          `--P. v. owstoni (Ijima 1893) I92
                           `--+--+--P. davidi JT12 [=Poecile davidi JF06]
                              |  `--P. montanus JT12 [=Poecile montanus JF06]
                              `--+--+--P. cinctus JT12 [=Poecile cinctus JF06]
                                 |  `--+--P. hudsonicus JT12 [=Poecile hudsonicus JF06]
                                 |     `--P. rufescens JT12 [=Poecile rufescens JF06]
                                 `--+--+--P. atricapillus JT12 [=Poecile atricapillus JF06]
                                    |  |    |--P. a. atricapillus R68
                                    |  |    `--P. a. septentrionalis R68
                                    |  `--P. gambeli [=Poecile gambeli] JF06
                                    `--+--P. carolinensis JT12 [=Poecile carolinensis JF06]
                                       `--P. sclateri JT12 [=Poecile sclateri JF06]

Inorganic: Parus atricapillus minilorientalus Okamura 1987 O87

*Type species of generic name indicated


Austin, O. L., Jr. 1961. Birds of the World: A survey of the twenty-seven orders and one hundred and fifty-five families. Paul Hamlyn: London.

[B94] Bock, W. J. 1994. History and nomenclature of avian family-group names. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 222: 1-281.

[B66] Bulger, G. E. 1866. List of birds observed at Wellington, Neilgherry Hills, about 6000 feet above the level of the sea, during the months of April and May, 1866. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 568-571.

[D51] Dobzhansky, T. 1951. Genetics and the Origin of Species, 3rd ed. Columbia University Press: New York.

[I92] Iwahashi, J. (ed.) 1992. Reddo Deeta Animaruzu: a pictorial of Japanese fauna facing extinction. JICC: Tokyo.

[JT12] Jetz, W., G. H. Thomas, J. B. Joy, K. Hartmann & A. Ø. Mooers. 2012. The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature 491: 444-448.

[JF06] Jønsson, K. A., & J. Fjeldså. 2006. A phylogenetic supertree of oscine passerine birds. Zoologica Scripta 35: 149-186.

[M02] Mlíkovský, J. 2002. Cenozoic Birds of the World. Part 1: Europe. Ninox Press: Praha.

[N10] Naish, D. 2010. Tetrapod Zoology: Book One. CFZ Press: Bideford (UK).

[O87] Okamura, C. 1987. New facts: Homo and all Vertebrata were born simultaneously in the former Paleozoic in Japan. Original Report of the Okamura Fossil Laboratory 15: 347-573.

[R68] Rising, J. D. 1968. A multivariate assessment of interbreeding between the chickadees, Parus atricapillus and P. carolinensis. Systematic Zoology 17 (2): 160-169.

[S05] Steinheimer, F. D. 2005. Eduard Rüppel’s avian types at the Natural History Museum, Tring (Aves). Senckenbergiana Biologica 85 (2): 233-264.

[SB98] Sturmbauer, C., B. Berger, R. Dallinger & M. Föger. 1998. Mitochondrial phylogeny of the genus Regulus and implications on the evolution of breeding behaviour in sylvioid songbirds. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 10 (1): 144-149.

[VP89] Viney, C., & K. Phillipps. 1989. Birds of Hong Kong 5th ed. Government Printer: Hong Kong.

[W66] Walden, A. 1866. Notes on birds collected in Tennasserim and in the Andaman Islands. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1866: 537-556.

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