White-backed Black-Tit Melaniparus leuconotus

Jason Anderson
Version: 2.0 — Published September 17, 2020

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

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Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Calls are very varied, including buzzing “bee-bzz-bzz”, and phrases recalling the vocalizations of both sparrow (Passer) and bulbul (Pycnonotus) species. Song is also varied, most typically a longer version of call-note phrases.


Vocal Development

Anderson and Berhane report juvenile vocalizations included "frequent high-pitched calls" (3, p. 36).

Vocal Array

A vocal species, with a wide repertoire of calls, both loud and quiet.

Song. Vocalizations presumed to be songs (although more research required to identify functions of these varied calls) include twittering warbles , bulbul-like "tchip-pi-uu" , (6, 9), upslurred phrases, and a much more harsh, piercing "(chup-)tee-teu, tee-teu", repeated several times [XC267036], distantly reminiscent of the "teacher-teacher" call typically associated with Great Tit (Parus major). A second, also repetitive phrase might be transliterated "(chip) cha-wu-u, (chip)-cha-wu-u" . Pairs also perform a "duet", beginning with a down-slurred "hay-ho" answered by upslurred "chop-wee" ( ; 9). Song can continue for a minute (9).

Calls. Several calls are typically tit-like, especially two "zee-zee-zee" calls, one brief [XC46199], another slightly faster and descending [XC474462: @12 secs.]. Contact calls poorly known, but a number of recordists, e.g., , document what is sometimes described as a sparrow-like (Passer sp.) churring, interspersed with a harsher "tchu-chu-chu" . One recordist also documents a very high pitched zee [XC294765] that seems to be coming from several members of a foraging flock, occasionally interspersed with the more sparrow-like churring.

Places of Vocalizing

Vivero Pol (23) documents (likely) territorial behavior, noting that, like Abyssinian Catbird (Parophasma galinieri), it initially calls from inside dense canopy and then appears on tops of bushes or trees.

Nonvocal Sounds

None known.

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