Long-tailed Tit

Aegithalos caudatus

You always know when these are close by for they always announce their visits with quite a high-pitched ruckus. These were quite young birds which attended my feeder, and there was about three altogether, from what I could see.

This tit has a very long slender tail and a rounded body, and in the winter months it can particularly look plumped up. It has a dull buffish underside, a mixture of pink and brownish back plumage, a dull white head with a black band leading from the eye, and a tiny bill. The eyelids are usually quite bright reddish-orange, and they turn yellow depending on their mood. The juvenile has black and white plumage, and lacks the pinkish tones of the adult bird. They grow up to 15cm (6in) long, and this includes its tail.

They form the most amazing nests constructed from lichen, moss, cobwebs and feathers which is rounded and elastic allowing it to move as the chicks  grow in side. They site this in a thorny bush, and in 1 brood they lay between 8-12 eggs between April and June. They can live for up to 3 years.

The Long-tailed Tit feed in groups, taking small spiders and insects from twigs and leaves, and also will eat a few seeds. Increasingly visits garden feeders.

They are seen all year round, and are found in deciduous woodland with bushy undergrowth and scrub, and tall well established hedgerows. This is a common and widespread species across Britain, except for the far north and west of Scotland.

Photographs of juvenile Long-tailed Tits (Aegithalos caudatus), taken July 2016, on bird feeder, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

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