3 February 2013

Meet the Locals #2

VARIED TIT (Parus Varius)

This is another east Asian specialty that may not be so well known to European or American birders. It is actually Hakodate's official town bird and it is common in the forests on Mt Hakodate and in the local parks and gardens outside the breeding season. It is especially common at Onuma where all these photos were taken over the last 5 or 6 years.

There are a number of different subspecies within its small range, the one in mainland Japan is P v varius. I have seen several different latin  names including Parus, Sittiparus and Poecile varius so you can take your pick there.

It is one of 6 tit species in Hokkaido (the other 5 are Eastern Great, Marsh, Willow, Coal and Long Tailed so this is the only real interesting one for visiting birders). It appears to be rather scarcer as you head north and east but down here in the southwest it is a common bird.

I tend to get my best pics of these in autumn..............

There were 2 very tame individuals in Onuma, we first noticed them about 6 or 7 years ago.

This was pretty much the first shot I ever took with my 100-400 lens.

Last winter there was only one tame one and so far this winter there have only been Nuthatches and Marsh/Willow Tits in the place where the tame tit flock reside. Different generations of Nuthatch have learned to milk the birders for sunflower seeds, I hope more Varied Tits will learn too.

Thanks for clicking this link.......


  1. The Varied Tit is a darling little bird, and it looks really tame! All your photos are good, but in your 1 and 2 captures he's just adorable.

  2. Excellent pictures. I wish Nikon had the same lens. I saw one of these tits at work last week when I didn't have my camera but anyway no chance for such close-ups around Niigata.

  3. Whatever the scientific name, they are great birds. We saw a few in one of the Tokyo public parks last time we were in Japan.

  4. They are a bit more exciting than Blue Tits Stu.

  5. Actually I miss the Blue Tits from back home Phil, they would probably even look exotic to Japanese birders................

  6. Such a nice and colored bird! They seem to behave like ours...but look very different! Great serie Stu ;-)

  7. Hi Dominic, yes it's a pretty unique one.........


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