Coal Tit

Coal Tit

Key facts

Scientific name: Periparus ater

Status: Resident breeding species

Breeding birds: 680,000 territories

UK conservation status: Green

Length: 11 – 12 cm

Wingspan: 17 – 21 cm

Weight: 8 – 10 g

Description

Coal tits are the smallest tits in the UK. Adult coal tits have greenish-grey upperparts with buff coloured underparts and white wing and shoulder bars. They have a large glossy black bib and a long white patch on the nape. Their crowns are black and their cheeks are white.

Coal tits have black bills, dark brown eyes, and dark grey legs and feet. Both sexes are similar.

Juvenile coal tits are duller than adults with browner upperparts and more yellow in the cheeks, nape and wing bars.

Nesting

Coal tits nest in holes in trees, crevices in walls, or mice and rabbit burrows. They will also use the old magpie nests, squirrel dreys, and occasionally nest boxes. The nest is built by the female from moss, hair, grass, and spider’s webs, lined with feathers and hair.

Coal tits lay 7-12 glossy white eggs with reddish speckles. The eggs are incubated for 14-16 days by the female while the male feeds her. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge at 16-19 days.

Feeding

Coal tits eat insects, beech mast, seeds, and nuts. They will also visit gardens in search of food, in particular sunflower seeds.

Coal Tit

Where to see them

Coal tits can be seen across the UK in woodland, parks, and gardens.

Listen

W. Agster/xeno-canto

Did you know?

Coal tits have low fat reserves compared to other tits, so they store food in case of future shortages. 

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