Meet the Azure Tit, a Tiny Frost-Blue Songbird Enchanting People With Its Cuteness

June 22, 2020 Updated: June 22, 2020

Whether you’re a city dweller or a countryside aficionado, there’s always a reason to take a moment out of your day to appreciate the beauty of nature. The azure tit is a prime example; a tiny songbird dressed in frost-blue feathers with the ability to catch the eye and melt the heart all at once.

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(Vitpolyak/Shutterstock)

The azure tit—Latin name Cyanistes cyanus—is a white songbird with a black stripe across both cheeks, wings boasting patches of bright blue and white, a snowy, fluffy white breast, and a long dark-blue tail with white corners.

The little bird predominantly resides and breeds throughout Russia and Central Asia, according to Beauty of Birds.

The central Asian azure tits can be distinguished from their peers with a patch of bright yellow on the breast.

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The azure tit, Cyanistes cyanus, pictured in western Mongolia (Jargal Lamjav/CC BY 2.0)

Measuring approximately 5 inches in length, the petite azure tit enjoys temperate mixed woodlands, scrubland, and wetlands. Most do not migrate beside seeking a change in altitude during their breeding season.

During the breeding season, the azure tit has a fiercely protective instinct. The bird will protect its brood of approximately 10 eggs, which it lays in a tree hole per season by hissing and biting if disturbed.

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(Intothewild_by/Shutterstock)

The frost-blue songbird has also been known to breed with blue tits. This breeding with its Eurasian counterpart has created a hybrid species that looks different from both. The hybrid Pleske’s tit has a darker blue crown than the usual white one of the azure parent, and a more muted yellow chest than the blue parent.

According to eBird, the azure tit is elusive, preferring to forage for insects and seeds under cover of dense foliage. The little bird can often be identified from its song, which includes a high-pitched cheerful ditty characterized by “chips, trills, and rattles.”

Despite the fact that the population is decreasing, the azure tit is listed as of “least concern” on the IUCN Red List due to healthy numbers in the wild.

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(Shan_shan/Shutterstock)

Over the years, the beloved bird has been immortalized in various illustrated forms, including being depicted on a Romanian postage stamp in the early 1990s. The bird was also rendered beautifully beside its cousin, the Eurasian blue tit, in world-famous ornithologist Johann Friedrich Naumann’s “Natural History of the Birds of Central Europe,” published in 1905.

The enigmatic azure tit, unlike its more familiar cousin the blue tit, is coveted by bird watchers owing to its uniquely beautiful appearance. According to Bird Guides, the azure tit made moves to emigrate northwest into European Russia during the 1870s and 1880s but soon retreated for reasons that ornithologists have yet to fully understand.

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Illustration of an azure tit from the book “Naumann, Natural history of the birds of central Europe,” published in 1905, revised by G. Berg et al., edited by Carl R. Hennicke. (Public Domain)

The azure tit has, however, been spotted in small numbers as far west as Finland. Notably, only 28 sightings have been recorded since 1992, but with European air travel becoming increasingly affordable, dedicated bird watchers have been tempted to make the trip to see the bird outside its usual geographic range.

For many bird lovers, the azure tit steals the show; the eye-catching combination of its fluffy white cuteness and the fierce streak of black across its cheeks makes the elusive little bird the stand-out member of this loveable family.

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