Page:The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma (Birds Vol 1).djvu/104

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72 Family PARIDÆ. The Titmouses.

Oates included the Titmouses in the same family as the Crows and the group of birds he called Crow-Tits. Whilst, however, they show certain affinities with both of these groups, the three seem to be much easier to separate than are many others, such as the Thrushes, JFlycatchers and Warblers, the true Shrikes, etc., and it, therefore, seems to be more consistent to keep these separate also. The Tituiouses, Paridm, differ from the Corvidæ in having the first primary equal to or less than half the length of the second, whereas the latter have this always more than half as long as the second. Like the Corvidæ, the Faridce have the nostrils concealed by feathers or bristles, though in the genus MelanocMora the soft feathers which lie over the nostrils do not wholly cover them. The bill is short and conical, varying considerably in depth and stoutness; the rictal bristles are short, the tarsus well developed and the surface scutulated; the wing is generally weak and rounded but is longer and more pointed in MelanocMora. Hellmayr has divided the Titmouses into several subfamilies, and includes amongst them the Paradoxornithidce. These latter birds, however, seem to me to constitute a good family, showing in some respects an affinity to the Titmouses, but in others a still closer connection with the Timeliido'. The genus Pamirns, the Bearded Tits, should probably also be placed witli the Paradoxornithida As regards the Indian Titmouses, I see no reason to divide them into subfamilies, and I include them all in the same. Since, however, the 'Fauna of India' was published, we have had to add other genera and species to our list, the principal being Remiz [AntJioscopus) coronatus and Parus (Cyanistes) cyanus. The key to the genera given below applies only to our Indian species. Hellmayr includes Lophopliayies, Sylviparus, MacMolo- plms and Cyanistes in the genus Parus, but though Cyanistes cannot be divided from that genus, the other three appear to me to be generically distinct and are therefore retained. Lopho- phanes, it is true, is not always crested. Our Indian Zc^j/io^j/trtjies ater omiodius has a well-developed crest, although it is only a sub- species of L. ater ater which has none and the two extremes are linked up by geographical races which have crests in varying degree. On the other hand, the shape of the tail in this genus quite suffices to keep it distinct from Parus. Cyanistes is a true Parus in everything but colour. The young are like the adult but paler, and in some species the grey or black in the adult is strongly sufiused with green in the young.