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Long Tailed Tit

Long Tailed Tit, Identification, Habitat and Food

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20th August 2013

Long Tailed Tit, Identification, Habitat and Food

Identification

Length: 14cm.

The extremely long tail comprises over half the length of this species, and is a distinguishing feature. They have a white head, neck and under parts. Northern and Eastern forms have pure white heads, while the Western race has a black eye stripe and the Southern race a greyish eye stripe. The back is usually black but may sometimes be grey, the rump is pinkish and the under parts are white with pinkish flanks. The flight feathers are blackish-brown, the inner ones are edged with white. Young Long Tailed Tit’s have chocolate-brown sides of the head and nape, brown back and the remaining plumage is like that of the adults.

Their flight is slow, weak and undulating. In winter it forms flocks that fly in lines from one tree to the next.

Call

They emit a soft ‘tupp’ and a ‘tsirup’. Their song is a combination of the call notes, but is rarely heard.

Reproduction

Breeding starts from March onwards. The nest is a large domed structure with a side entrance. It is built by both sexes, made of moss bound with spiders’ webs and hair. The outside is coated with lichen. It takes the birds up to three weeks to build. They are usually situated in brambles or thick bushes about a metre to five metres off the ground. They may also build their nest in a tree up to twenty meters from the ground.

They usually lay eight to twelve eggs (sometimes five to sixteen). These are white and finely speckled with purplish red, or are unmarked. The female mainly incubates from twelve to fourteen days. Both parents tend the young, who remain in the nest for fourteen days.

Habitat

Likes coniferous and deciduous woods and scrub. Less often seen in parks and gardens than other tits.

Natural Food

Mainly insects.

Where to Feed

Feeders – Ideally above 1m in height

Table – Covered

Ground – Not suitable