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Long-Tailed Tit

Long-Tailed Tit

Key facts

Scientific name: Aegithalos caudatus
Status: Resident breeding species

Breeding pairs: 340,000 territories

Conservation status: Green
Length: 14 cm
Wingspan: 16 – 19 cm
Weight: 7 – 10 g

What do long-tailed tits look like?

Long-tailed tits have black upper mantles and a pink rump mottled with black and white. The upperwing coverts are black and the greater coverts have white edges. They have pinkish underparts with black streaks and paler bellies. As their name suggests the long-tailed tits tail is much longer than its body and is particularly noticeable during flight. It is mainly black with white tips.

On the head, there is a wide pink band on the top of the crown, the sides of their heads are black, and their chin, throat and cheeks are pink with a black wash. The short bill is black, the eyes are black with red eyelids, and the legs and feet are black.

Male and female long-tailed tits look similar. Juveniles are darker than the adults with a shorter, browner tail and dusky face.

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How do long-tailed tits breed?

Both male and female long-tailed tits build their nests about 3 metres above the ground in a thorny bush or the fork of a tree. It is an oval cup like structure made from moss, spider webs covered in lichen. The interior is lined with feathers.

Long-tailed tits lay 6-15 white eggs spotted with red which are incubated by the female for 12-18 days. The male feeds the female while she is incubating. Chicks are fed by both adults and leave the nest at 14-18 days.

What do long-tailed tits eat?

Long-tailed tits eat mainly insects and spiders. In winter they will supplement their diet with seeds and buds. They also drink sap.

Long-Tailed Tit

Where can I see long-tailed tits?

Long-tailed tits can be found throughout the UK except the very north and east of Scotland. They can be seed in woodland, hedgerows, scrubland, parks and gardens. During winter they will form flocks with other species of tits.

What do long-tailed tits sound like?

Vincent Pourchaire/xeno-canto

Did you know?

If nest failure occurs long-tailed tits may not try to re-nest but instead will become helpers at a nest of a usually related pair of birds, ensuring a greater chance of the juveniles surviving.

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13 Responses

  1. Can anyone tell me why a pair of long tails would tap on our windows. There is no sign of any insects on the windows and we have ample seed in the feeders. It’s the first time we have seen them around here in the hills around Bolton/bury
    They are both tapping on the windows ,we have videoed them.

  2. Just had a whole flock today in my garden on feeders, I have been putting out soft fat with seeds and insects in feeder, nuts, various seeds on table and ground feeder, along with mealworms. I place a bowl of mealworm in some warm water too, as we have a pretty little grey wagtail coming daily to feed, she loves them and spends hours here 🙂 Too cute

  3. They are a joy to watch on the feeder, quick moving and then away they go in threes or more. Got within about one metre from one on my feeder. I have to say I felt very privileged.????

  4. I have a flock of long tail tits on my feeder’s for the past six weeks,I live in Bournemouth, at one point there were so many I could not count,they nibble go off and return some five minutes later, when they have had their fill off they all fly and return the next day ,they fill my heart with joy

  5. Wonderful little birds. Didn’t know that they helped rear related offspring, do other birds do this? This makes them even more appealing

  6. Saw three at the fatball feeders this week. Cute little birds and quite friendly as I was only a couple of feet away from them.

  7. Just saw one of these drinking from our bird bath in Tavistock, Devon. On the edge of some woodland. Never saw one before.

  8. We regularly saw the Long Tailed Tits visiting our feeders but haven’t seen them for some time.
    They were so pretty and amazing little birds.
    The number of birds visiting our garden has dropped considerably during this year.
    Hadn’t ever seen them before and was very pleased they visited us along with quite a few other birds.
    The squirrels have almost destroyed some of our feeders and am having to resort to metal or porcelain feeders.
    Starlings also decimate the feeders and they arrived at about the same time as the other birds declined.

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