White-backed Black-Tit Melaniparus leuconotus

Jason Anderson
Version: 2.0 — Published September 17, 2020

Diet and Foraging

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Diet and Foraging

Diet poorly known. Certainly includes invertebrates, frequently gleaned from moss and lichen of the trunks, branches, and twigs of trees. Most often seen foraging in trees, although occasionally also on bushes and in undergrowth. Usually forages in pairs or small parties, quite vocal, although solitary individuals also observed.


Main Foods Taken

Appears to be a generalist feeder, though very little information.

Microhabitat for Foraging

Primarily arboreal, foraging on tree trunks , branches and twigs (JA) , although also forages on small bushes , shrubs, and even in undergrowth in rocky ravines (3).

Food Capture and Consumption

Feeding is active and acrobatic, usually arboreal (although sometimes in bushes), typically tit-like (JA). Most often moves in pairs or small parties (8, 9, 16), although solitary individuals also seen. Feeding behavior is restless, moving rapidly through canopy, frequently gleaning on trunks, branches, and fine twigs, but also on bushes. In the absence of competing Parid species, it seems to be a generalist feeder. Frequently inspects and disturbs bark, moss, and lichen for food. Sometimes hangs upside-down on strong legs, as is typical of Paridae. Anderson and Berhane observed individuals “gleaning for insects” on Ficus sycomorous fruit (3) .


Only observational data on diet has been reported, corroborated here from online video and image repositories. Certainly includes small invertebrates, such as larvae , but reports of seed-eating may originate in Shelley's (16, p. 227) account, involving a second-hand report of vague observations by von Heuglin that it eats “insects and seeds of all kinds”.

Food Selection and Storage

No information.

Nutrition and Energetics

No information.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

No information.

Drinking, Pellet-Casting, and Defecation

No information.

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