White-backed Black-Tit Melaniparus leuconotus

Jason Anderson
Version: 2.0 — Published September 17, 2020


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Juveniles are slightly duller and browner than adults, lacking gloss, with a duller or buffy, possibly mottled, mantle patch.


Note yellow gape flange.

Dorsal view.

Some individuals show white tips on tertials and white fringes on secondaries.

Ventral view.

Some individuals show white tips on undertail coverts.

White-backed Black-Tit.

In fresh plumage, (from November to June) body, wings, and tail are sooty black. The crown appears glossed deep blue in good light, with the rest of upperparts faintly glossed. On the head, the lores, supercilium, cheeks, and ear-coverts are all sooty black.

White-backed Black-Tit.

Note, light gray mantle and lower nape patch that stretches around to the sides of neck, contrasting sharply with its black head.

White-backed Black-Tit.

In worn plumage (approximately from June to October), birds are duller or browner with less blue gloss, and the mantle patch may appear darker gray and occasionally smaller (ā€˜Vā€™ shaped or restricted to sides of mantle). Flight feathers are often bleached brown when the plumage is worn.

White-backed Black-Tit.

Females are very similar to males, and are often inseparable in field, although they average slightly duller

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