basic information


Acanthis flavirostris (Linnaeus, 1758)

Горная чечетка | Тау шонайнығы

Kastek gorge, Zailiyskiy Alatau
© Oleg Belyalov


The male Twite in spring has brownish upperparts with broad dark shaft streaks. Underparts are some paler than upperparts, and without streaks on rear-belly. Uppertail is pink. Flight and tail feathers are dark-brownish with white edges. In fresh autumn plumage upperparts are paler than in spring, buffy with dark streaks, the pink on uppertail is lack. Females are distinguished from males only by lacking of pink on uppertail, therefore in fresh plumage females are not differed from males. Bill is yellowish, legs are black-brownish. Juveniles are similar on females but are distinguished by neat streaks. Size: males: wing 72-83, tail 64-78, tarsus 17.3-23.5, bill 7.0-8.2 mm. females: wing 70-77, tail 59-70, tarsus 13.5-16.5, bill 6.5-8.0 mm. Weight: 13.2-17.7 gr.


The Twite breeds in the semi-desert zone of Western and Central Kazakhstan and also in mountains and foothills of Eatern Kazakhstan. In winter occurs in South-Eastern Kazakhstan, in Syrdarya valley and in coast of Caspian Sea. The detailed distribution in Kazakhstan please see in the Subspecies section.


Twite is common breeding migrant, in places common winter visitor. It inhabits hilly sands with grass and shrubs, stony steppe with caragana, meadowsweet and dog rose bushes, crushed stony slopes with bushes and sparse vegetation, or alpine belt with stones and Juniper bushes, often not far from water. Spring migration begins from the end of February to first half of March in flocks of several dozen birds, latest birds were observed in early - mid-April. On breeding area it appears in end of March - April. Altaica subspecies breeds in separate pairs, sometimes in 10-15 m from each other. Nests are built on bush, in height grass (Lasiagrostis, wormwood) up to 0.7 m above ground, or on ground pit under grass or bush twig from dry grass stems and rootless lined with rags, hair and feathers. Clutches of 4-6, usually 5 eggs found in end of April – early July, independent juveniles in broods observed from early July. Autumn migration begins from mid – end September, when flocks of 100-200 birds are common at this time. The latest birds leave breeding area in mid-November.


Acanthis flavirostris kirghizorum (Sushkin, 1925)

    Description. Upperparts are lighter, pale edges of mantle feathers are more pale-buffy (sometimes greyish), and shaft-streaks are narrower than in korejevi. White edges of secondaries are wide.
    Distribution. Breeds in semi-desert zone of Kazakhstan from Volga-Ural area eastward to Semipalatinsk area and Zaysan depression; in south to Volga-Ural sands (Beketay), upper reaches of Emba and lower Turgay river, Basaga station, Mointy and southern part of Kazakh Upland (Bektauata, Zhorga, Ayaguz); in north to Kaztalovka on Malyy Uzen river, Ilek valley, the Naurzum Reserve, upper reaches of Kara-Turgay river, Tengiz lake and Semeytau near Semipalatinsk. On migration and wintering occurs in the southern half of Kazakhstan, in south from the northern coast of Caspian Sea, Mangyshlak and Ayaguz.

Acanthis flavirostris korejevi (Zarudny et Harms, 1914)

    Description. Upperparts are darker, pale edges of mantle feathers are more brownish-buff, less pale-buff than in kirghizorum. White edges of secondaries are narrow.
    Distribution. Breeds in Kalbinskiy Altai, Tarbagatay, in Zaysan depression and Chiliktinskaya valley. In winter occurs in the south-eastern Kazakhstan at Zharkent, whence this race was described, though details of distribution are not investigated.

Acanthis flavirostris altaica (Sushkin, 1925)

    Description. Upperparts are dark, general colour is bright, rusty-brown; shaft streaks are wide, but not neat. White edges of secondaries are absent.
    Distribution. Probably this race breeds in highlands of the Southern Altai above 2000 m.


"Птицы Казахстана" том 2. "Наука". Алма-Ата, 1962. Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999. Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005.



Acanthis flavirostris kirghizorum
(Sushkin, 1925)
Acanthis flavirostris korejevi
(Zarudny et Harms, 1914)
Acanthis flavirostris altaica
(Sushkin, 1925)

other names

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Алексей Курочкин: Спасибо за подсказку.


Андрей Коваленко: Майны.


Кудайберген Амирекул: Согласен. Прошу удалить наблюдение.

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