basic information

Coal Tit

Parus ater (Linnaeus, 1758)

Московка | Шөре шымшық

Almaty area. Chimbulak.
© Andrey Kovalenko


In Kazakhstan lives in spruce forests of northern slopes of Tien Shan, Dzhungarsky Alatau and Southern Altai. Please see detailed distribution in the section Subspecies.


Common resident, in places rare winter visitor. Inhabits mountain coniferous (spruce, fir, larch, pine), mixed or birch-willow forests at altitudes up to 1500-1800 m in Altai, or 2500-2700 m in Tien Shan. On dispersal and wintering rare occurs in deciduous forests on plains and in foothills. Pairs are formed in autumn – winter. Breeds in separate pairs at distance 70-80 m from each other. Nest is located in tree-hole (up to 20 m above ground), in ground cavity between stones, tree roots or in cavities of human constructions; for one-two weeks nest is built by female from moss and is lined with plenty of hair. Willing to use nest-boxes. Clutch of 6-9 eggs is laid in early May – end June. For 13-15 days mainly female incubates clutch, male sometimes helps her. Both parents feed juveniles, which fledge at age 19-20 days old, in early June – end August. Re-nesting after loss of first clutch is common. On autumn – winter dispersal occurs singly, in pairs or in small groups from end of September until mid March.


Parus ater ater (Linnaeus, 1758)

    Description. The mantle and rump are bluish-grey without brownish-olive tinge. Under parts are off-white with very slight buffy tinge on flanks. Male wing length 58.0-64.0 (61.0) mm.
    Distribution. Breeds and occurs in winter in taiga forest of Southwest Altai. In Kalbinskiy Altai found in relict fir-tree forest at Koktau mountains. Probably breeds in north-eastern part of Dzhungarskiy Alatau, where was common in end July 2002 (breeding of two subspecies on one ridge very unusual). On dispersal and wintering occurs in Irtysh and Ural valleys up to Caspian Sea, in Naurzum pine forest (Aman-Karagai forest), several times observed near Chelkar station, in Kurgaldzhino Reserve, Karaganda, Karkaralinsk, near Bektau-Ata, in Tentek valley (Alakol depression).

Parus ater rufipectus (Severtzov, 1873)

    Description. The mantle and rump are bluish-grey, darker than in ater. The rump is slightly olive-tinged. Under parts are dirty buff, flanks are buffy-olive. Male wing length 58.0-63.0 (60.0) mm.
    Distribution. Breeds in Tien Shan (except Western Tien Shan) and Dzhungarskiy Alatau. On dispersal occasionally come down in foothills (to Almaty) and Ile valley.


Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999. В.К.Рябицев. "Птицы Урала, Приуралья и Западной Сибири". Екатеринбург. Изд-во Уральского университета, 2000.



Parus ater ater
(Linnaeus, 1758)
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Parus ater rufipectus
(Severtzov, 1873)
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