Parus major - autumn

Great Tit / Talgoxe


Moult contrast is always present in the wing of 1cy, in the vast majority between post-juvenile GC and juvenile PC (though not always easy to find). Adult birds show a uniform and freshly moulted plumage.

  • Most birds include all GC in the post-juvenile moult. The fresh and dense GC with rather bright blue-grey outer vanes shows a contrast to the less dense and less brightly coloured juvenile PC. This contrast may be easily detected, but quite a few birds are more difficult. Occasionally (c. 8% at Ottenby) 1-3 outermost GC may be unmoulted juvenile, and then show a more easily seen contrast to inner post-juvenile GC.
  • A moult contrast is often seen in the alula/CC, often with CC and the innermost alula moulted post-juvenile contrasting to outer two juvenile alula. Post-juvenile alula are more dense than juveniles ones, and the inner two feathers show the same bright blueish-grey colour as the post-juvenile LC, MC and GC, whereas juvenile ones are less dense and colourful. Longest alula is darker regardless of which generation is present, but difference in quality between juvenile and post-juvenile generation still detectable.
  • Most birds (c. 70% according to Jenni & Winkler 1994) moult all tertials. Among the rest, the vast majority shows one (the longest) unmoulted juvenile tertial, while 2-3 retained juvenile tertials are rather rare. 
  • C. 90% (according to Jenni & Winkler 1994) moult all RR, and c. 2% moult none. Remaining birds show a contrast between post-juvenile and juvenile RR. The latter is recognized by being slightly more worn, often greyer (less blueish-grey), slightly more narrow and pointed at tip.
  • Iris is rather dark olive-grey.
  • Uniform plumage lacking any moult contrast.
  • PC denser and with a slightly brighter blue-grey gloss.
  • Iris usually slightly warmer greyish-brown.
1cy October. One of the rather few individuals showing a moult contrast in GC: Outermost GC1-3 are juvenile, slightly longer, less bright blue-grey outer vane and with a smaller pale tip, in contrast to inner post-juvenile ones. [2KR09934]
1 cy October. All LC, MC, GC and CC are post-juvenile, in contrast to juvenile PC. [2KS80580]
2cy+ October. Whole wing post-breeding, with no contrast between GC and PC. [2KS56818]
2cy+ October, showing variation. Note that also adult may show yellow in tips of GC. [VU92614]
1cy October. Note the juvenile PC, less dense and slightly less brightly coloured than post-juvenile GC and alula. [XZ06155]
1cy October, showing variation. [2KS80580]
2cy+ November. Adult PC are denser and generally shows a slightly brighter blue-grey gloss. Note the lack of contrast to GC. [2KR44201]
2cy+ October, showing variation. [VS10421]
1cy October. The CC and innermost alula are post-juvenile (denser with brighter blue-grey gloss) in contrast to the two outermost alula that still are juvenile. Note however that 1cy often moult all three alula feathers. [2KR09053]
1cy October. This individual has all three alula unmoulted juvenile in contrast to post-juvenile CC, LC, MC and GC. [2KS80580]
2cy+ November. Uniformly post-breeding alula (as well as rest of wing). [2KR44201]
2cy+ October, showing variation. [VS10421]
1cy October. Most 1cy include all tertials in the post-juvenile moult, but exeptions are not uncommon. This birds shows post-juvenile inner and central tertial, in contrast to the outer (longest) that is unmoulted juvenile. [2KS80580]
1cy October. Likely another exception: Telling the generations apart is not always easy, but this bird probably shows a uniform set of unmoulted juvenile tertials (which is rather rare). [2KR09053]
2cy+ October. Uniform post-breeding tertials. [VU92614]
2cy+ September, showing another set of post-breeding tertials. [2KR09002]
1cy October. Most 1cy include the whole tail in the post-juvenile moult, but a few are less advanced: This individual shows juvenile right R3 and R5-6 (both sides) in contrast to rest of RR that are post-juvenile. [2KR09053]
1cy October, showing a full set of post-juvenile RR, inseparable from the post-breeding RR of adult. [2KR09956]
2cy+ September. A uniform post-breeding tail. [2KR09002]
2cy+ October, showing variation. [VU92614]
More Parus major:
Sexing autumn and spring
Ageing spring

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