White-backed Black-Tit Melaniparus leuconotus

Jason Anderson
Version: 2.0 — Published September 17, 2020


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Very little confirmed data on breeding.


Ash and Atkins (7, p. 252) cite three first egg dates in May, August, and December in Ethiopia, and one recently fledged juvenile observed and photographed by JA (see 3) on 5 October in Eritrea suggests breeding commenced late August or early September, coinciding with the main rainy season there. A female collected with an egg in the oviduct on 27 December near Jemijem, 50 km west of Addis Ababa (27) suggests a first egg date of early January in Ethiopia. Friedmann (8) speculates that the reason only male adults were collected on one expedition in February (n = 8; 20-29 February 1912) was that the females may have been incubating. While scant, this evidence indicates breeding occurs year round, possibly to coincide with the rainy season in Eritrea, but not necessarily in other areas (January is the middle of the dry season in Addis Ababa).

Nest Site

No records of nest sites in the literature (7, 3, 16, 6, 8, 9), although can be assumed to be a cavity breeder, like all Parids (26).


No information.


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Young Birds

No information.

Parental Care

No information.

Cooperative Breeding

No information.

Brood Parasitism by Other Species

No information.

Fledgling Stage

One record by JA (reported in 3) is of one, possibly two recently-fledged juveniles in a party of at least 5 birds, seen at times begging for food and being fed on one occasion. Juvenile behavior included wing shivering . Vocalizations included "frequent high-pitched calls" (3, p. 36), consistent with "zeedling" (26, p. 693) calls of other juvenile parids. Yellow gape was clearly visible. Other juvenile features were not observed, and plumage appeared consistent with adults.

Recommended Citation

Anderson, J. (2020). White-backed Black-Tit (Melaniparus leuconotus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.whbblt1.02