White-naped Tit

White-winged Tit (Parus nuchalis)

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The white-naped tit (Parus nuchalis) sometimes called the white-winged tit is a passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. It is endemic to India where it is found in dry thorn scrub forest in two disjunct populations, in western India and southern India. Its specific name nuchalis means ‘of the nuchal, nape’.

This species is hard to mistake with its contrasting black and white patterns without the grey wing coverts and back of the partly sympatric cinereous tit (Parus cinereus). This species is very patchily distributed and has been considered to be vulnerable to extinction especially because of the scarcity of suitable habitats particularly nest cavities made by woodpeckers.

This species was discovered in the Eastern Ghats near Nellore by T C Jerdon who received a specimen from a local hunter. A specimen was later obtained in 1863 from near Bangalore and for a long time the species was not observed anywhere in southern India. A O Hume had suggested in that the two populations might represent different species. The southern population was subsequently noted when Salim Ali collected specimens from the Biligirirangan Hills. The species occurs in the nearby Kaveri valley area where Parus cinereus stupae is also found. The species has also been reported from the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Salim Ali had claimed that the two species were mutually exclusive, however there is no support for this. The distribution in western India is larger and better known, ranging mainly in areas of Kutch and extending into parts of Rajasthan. A specimen in the British Museum marked as being from Bootan (Bhutan) is considered to be in error. Records from Wynaad, Anshi National Park and Dharwad have also been considered doubtful. source

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