Long Tailed Tit

Aegithalos caudatusLong Tailed Tit

 It is easy to spot the tiny Long Tailed Tit, thanks to a distinctive black and white tail which is almost twice as long as its body.  In winter, these sociable birds flock together to feed in woodland and from hanging feeders.  But perhaps the bird’s most remarkable characteristic is the unmistakable oval-shaped domed nest which takes three weeks to build, and has earned its creators the nickname ‘bottle tits’.

 Description:

Long Tailed Tits are about 5 ½ in / 14 cm long, including a black and white tail which is longer than the body.  The  body is quite round and dumpy, especially in winter when it fluffs out feathers to keep warm.  The main plumage is pinkish, with black and white markings, and both sexes look similar.  It doesn’t really have a proper song, just a variety of high call notes.

Nesting and breeding:

In late February or early March the male and female Long Tailed Tits pair up and start to build an elaborate nest in the fork of a tree.  The nest is a delicate domed structure with an opening at the top, made from moss and cobwebs and cosily lined with lots of feathers.  Then, between late March and early May the female lays 8-12 white eggs with red-brown freckles.  They hatch after about 15 days, and nestlings are then fed for about 14 days by both parents before leaving the nest.   In courtship, males fly solo to impress the female, or chase each other through the leaves.

Where to see them

  • Long Tailed tits are widespread in Britain, though most abundant in the south
  • They are present all-year round, and are largely non-migratory
  • Favourite habitats are hedgerows, parkland and the fringes of woodland.  They increasingly visit suburban gardens
  • Cold winters can devastate the Long Tailed Tit population, and feeding them high-energy foods in your garden can make all the difference.  
  • What they eat

  • Long Tailed Tits feed mainly on insects, spiders and larvae
  • They also eat seeds and increasingly feed from bird tables and hanging feeders 
  • Recommended Farbrook Farm foods: Dried Mealworms, Premium Wild Bird Food, Sunflower Hearts, Fat Balls
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