Status and distribution Main range extends from southern Sweden, Denmark and Germany to the Black Sea and east to the Urals. Also breeds widely in Iberia, at scattered sites in western & southern France, Italy and Sicily, the southern Balkans, north Greece and Crete and in Turkey and the Caucasus. Breeding recently confirmed for the first time in Finland.
Mediterranean and Caucasus populations mainly resident, more northerly birds are migratory. Winter range more extensive in southern Iberia and Greece, and also in the Near East. Has declined in some southern parts of range but appears to be expanding in the north.
Vagrants recorded in Britain, Malta (increasingly recorded in winter), Cyprus (may have bred), Canary Is and Morocco. British records (c.150) are increasing since the first in the 1960s. Most often occurs in eastern and southern England in spring or frequently in autumn-winter, sometimes staying for long periods. Many records have involved two or three birds and it is likely that breeding will be attempted in Britain in the near future.
Subspecies Nominate pendulinus occurs over most of European range replaced by caspius in the western Caspian region which has much more extensive chestnut on the head. Race menzbieri from Turkey and Transcaucasia resembles nominate but is generally paler and has reduced chestnut band on forehead. In the far east of the region in southern Kazakstan the race macronyx occurs with all black head and coronatus from Central Asia with whitish head has occurred as a vagrant in Austria. The races macronyx and coronatus belong to two different groups of subspecies which may overlap range of the pendulinus group without interbreeding. If so, the Penduline Tit should perhaps be split into 3 species.
Habitat Reedbeds on fresh or brackish water, often with scrub and other plants intermixed. Also in trees, hedges and bushes close to or overhanging water. May be seen away from water on passage.