Parus afer (Grey tit, Southern grey tit)
Piet-tjou-tjou-grysmees [Afrikaans]; Kaapse mees [Dutch];
Mésange petit-deuil [French]; Kapmeise [German]; Chapim-cinzento-meridional
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vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class:
fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial
vertebrates) > Tetrapoda
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Reptilia (reptiles) >
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Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves
Order: Passeriformes > Family: Paridae
Distribution and habitat
Endemic to South Africa, occurring from the Western Cape
through the Northern Cape to south-western Namibia. Its range also extends to
the Eastern Cape and Free State Province, with an isolated population in
Lesotho. It generally favours dry woodland along seasonal rivers, as well as
dwarf shrubland, strandveld, renosterveld and farming areas.
Distribution of Grey tit in southern Africa, based
on statistical smoothing of the records from first SA Bird Atlas Project
Animal Demography unit, University of
Cape Town; smoothing by Birgit Erni and Francesca Little). Colours range
from dark blue (most common) through to yellow (least common).
See here for the latest distribution
from the SABAP2.
It eats a variety of insects (especially caterpillars),
supplemented with fruit. It forages among the foliage of trees, gleaning insects
from crevices in twigs and branches and breaking open thorns looking for larvae. The following food items have
been recorded in its diet:
- Facultative cooperative breeder, meaning that the breeding pair are
occasionally assisted by 1-2 helpers.
- Both sexes construct the nest, which is a thick platform built of
sheep's wool, feathers, grass and other fine material. It is placed in the
bottom of a cavity or tree or in an earthen bank, stone wall or even a steel
pipe fence post.
- Egg-laying season is from August-March.
- It lays 2-5 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 12
days. The male gives her food regularly at the nest.
- The chicks are fed mainly caterpillars by the both parents and group
members, leaving the nest after about 20 days.
Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of
southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book
Fund, Cape Town.