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Remizidae - Penduline Tits

Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus ©Jens Eriksen

The penduline tits constitute a family of small passerine birds, related to the true tits. All but the verdin make elaborate bag nests hanging from trees (whence 'penduline', hanging), usually over water.

Penduline tits are tiny passerines, ranging from 7.5cm to 11cm in length, that resemble the true tits Paridae but have finer bills with more needle-like points. Their wings are short and rounded and their short tails are notched (except the stub-tailed tit). The penduline tits' typical plumage colours are pale greys and yellows and white, though the European Penduline Tit has black and chestnut markings and some species have bright yellow or red.

They live in Eurasia and Africa and North America. The genus Remiz is almost exclusively Eurasian, ranging discontinuously from Portugal and the tip of northern Morocco through to Siberia and Japan. The largest genus, Anthoscopus, is found in sub-Saharan Africa from the Sahel through to South Africa. The Verdin lives in arid parts of the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico.

Several species of penduline tit are migratory, although this behaviour is only shown in species found in Asia and Europe; African species and the Verdin are apparently sedentary. The Eurasian Penduline Tit is migratory over parts of its range, with birds in northern Europe moving south in the winter but birds in southern Europe remaining close to their breeding areas. In contrast the Chinese PendulineTit is fully migratory and undertake long distance migrations.

Most live in open country with trees or bushes, ranging from desert to marsh to woodland, but the Forest Penduline Tit lives in rain forest. They spend most of the year in small flocks.

Insects form the larger part of their diet and they are active foragers. Their long conical bill is used to probe into cracks and prise open holes in order to obtain prey. Nectar, seeds and fruits may also be taken seasonally. Their foraging behaviour is reminiscent of the true tits (Paridae), foraging upside-down on small branches, manoeuvring branches and leaves with their feet in order to insect them, and clasping large prey items with one foot while dismembering them.

The common name of the family reflects the tendency of most species to construct elaborate pear-shaped nests. These nests are woven from spiderweb, wool and animal hair and soft plant materials and is suspended from twigs and branches in trees. The nests of the African genus Anthoscopus are even more elaborate than the Eurasian Remiz, incorporating a false entrance above the true entrance which leads to a false chamber. The true nesting chamber is accessed by the parent opening a hidden flap, entering and then closing the flap shut again, the two sides sealing with sticky spider webs.

The Verdin builds a domed nest out of thorny twigs. In some penduline tit species the eggs are white, sometimes with red spots. TheVerdin lays blue-green eggs with red spots. Incubation lasts about 13 or 14 days, and the nestlings fledge at about 18 days.

There are, according to the IOC, 11 species of Penduline Tit and allies in three genera in the family Remizidae; they are:

Eurasian Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus
Black-headed Penduline Tit Remiz macronyx
White-crowned Penduline Tit Remiz coronatus
Chinese Penduline Tit Remiz consobrinus

Sennar Penduline Tit Anthoscopus punctifrons
Yellow Penduline Tit Anthoscopus parvulus
Mouse-colored Penduline Tit Anthoscopus musculus
Forest Penduline Tit Anthoscopus flavifrons
Grey Penduline Tit Anthoscopus caroli
Cape Penduline Tit Anthoscopus minutus


Verdin Auriparus flaviceps

Family Links

Penduline Tits Remizidae

IBC Family Account

Small to very small birds with sharply pointed conical bill, short to medium-length tail and relatively strong toes; plumage rather nondescript, but four species have bold head patterns and males of two others have colourful heads…

Penduline Tits Remizidae

Family Account

The penduline tits constitute a family of small passerine birds, related to the true tits.

Penduline Tits Remizidae

HBW Family Account

Annotated species list

Penduline Tits Remizidae

Family Account

Penduline Tits are a small family of tiny passerines found mostly in Eurasia and Africa, with a single example in the New World.

Species Links

Verdin Auriparus flaviceps

Species Account

The verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) is a species of penduline tit. It is the only species in the genus Auriparus and the only species in the family to be found in the New World.

Verdin Auriparus flaviceps

Cornell Species Account

A tiny, active songbird of the arid southwestern United States and northern Mexico, the Verdin is the only North American member of the penduline-tit family (Remizidae).

Verdin Auriparus flaviceps

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus

Species Account

The Eurasian penduline tit or European penduline tit (Remiz pendulinus) is a passerine bird of the genus Remiz. The genus name is the Polish word for the Eurasian penduline tit, and pendulinus is Latin for "hanging down".

Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus

BirdLife Species Account

Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map.

Penduline Tit Remiz pendulinus

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Motacilla pendulinus Linnaeus, 1758, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary and Italy. Forms a species group with R. macronyx, R. coronatus and R. consobrinus, and all four often combined as one species; sometimes present species considered conspecific with R. macronyx, and the other two united as a separate species.

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 11