© 2014 by Barbara Copperthwaite.

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Long-tailed tit

 

This tiny bird is just 13cm in length - and that includes the tail that literally makes up more than half its length. If seen close up, you'll notice they aren't black and white, but have a delicate pink glow to their shoulders, flanks and belly.

They particularly love parks and deciduous woodlands that have plenty of undergrowth. There they are constantly on the move, rarely still for more than a couple of seconds as they search ceaselessly for insects and other small food items such as seeds, and sap from broken branches of birch trees. You will almost never see them on the ground.

During autumn and winter, up to thirty Long-Tailed Tits will snuggle together at night to keep warm. But at this time of year (June) they are in breeding pairs, which are monogomous. They raise a brood of six to twelve eggs in a tiny closed nest that has been woven together using  lichen and spiders' webs, and lined with feathers. 

Pictured top and top left is the adult, while middle left are a pair of newly-fledged young birds. If you look closely you can see the young birds have dark cheeks that the adult lacks. Below is a snap of a slightly older juvenile, whose marking are starting to change. See how the paler cap is becoming more pronounced, and the cheeks starting to pale a little.

 

WILD CARD: If male Long-Tailed Tits fail to breed for some reason, they will often help their parents or even brothers raise their off-spring instead.

 

For more photographs go to the Gallery.

For more information to to Barbara's Wild Blog.

 

juvenile long-tailed tit, Go Be Wild, Barbara Copperthwaite