Eurasian Penduline-tit/Remiz pendulinus - Adult

Eurasian Penduline-tit/Remiz pendulinus - Photographer: Frank Schulkes
Eurasian Penduline-tit/Remiz pendulinus - Photographer: Frank Schulkes
Eurasian Penduline-tit/Remiz pendulinus - Photographer: Борис Белчев
Eurasian Penduline-tit/Remiz pendulinus - Photographer: Борис Белчев

L 10-11½ cm. Placed in a separate family, one reason being its aberrant breeding biology. Breeds in deciduous trees bordering rivers and lakeshores, in young regrowth beside overgrown swamps etc. Requires access to suitable nesting trees with thin, hanging branches (birch, willow, alder). Migratory in N, resident in S. Has spread towards NW in recent decades. Food mostly insects and spiders. Polygamous breeding habits. Several nests may be sited close to each other, but is not a true colonial nester; the same male can start more than one nest. Nest unusual, fixed skilfully at end of a thin hanging branch, is pouch-shaped and furnished with entrance tunnel; exterior is pale and downy owing to interwoven seed-hairs of willow, aspen and bulrush.
IDENTIFICATION: Very small, with conical and sharply pointed bill. Adult almost like a male Red-backed Shrike in coloration, with black mask through eye, light grey crown/nape and reddish-brown mantle/back. male has broader eye-mask than female and darker red-brown back, which is noticeable when pair seen together. male also has stronger sprinkling of diffuse red-brown spots on breast than female. Flight is light and a little springy. Climbs nimbly on thinnest branches, freely hangs upside-down. - Juvenile: Duller. Eye-mask grey-brown and poorly indicated (never black), back drab yellowish grey-brown, crown greyish-buff with slightly paler forehead.
VOICE: Call a fine, whistled ‘tsiiiü’, faintly downslurred; sounds tender and almost ‘dreamy’ in tone (more drawn out than Reed Bunting’s ‘siu’, softer and more downslurred than Robin’s ‘tsiiih’). Song a simple ditty with the call (or fragments of it) interwoven and with high trills, well spaced, e.g. ‘tsiiü... sirrrr tvitvitvi... tsiiü... zver’r’r’r’... tsiiü... (like a soft, high-voiced Greenfinch).

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