Willow Tit

Willow Tit

Key facts

Scientific name: Poecile montanus

Status: Resident breeding species

UK passage: 3,400 pairs

Conservation status: Red

Length: 11.5 cm

Wingspan: 17 – 19 cm

Weight: 8 – 14 g

Description

Adult willow tits have grey-brown upperparts, tail, and wings, which have a distinctive lighter panel. Their underparts are grey-white. They have matt black caps and napes and a black bib. Their cheeks are white and they have dusky ear coverts.

Willow tits have black bills, black eyes, and dark grey legs and feet. Male and females look similar.

Juvenile marsh tits are similar to adults but the black cap is duller and they have paler under and upperparts.

Breeding

Willow tits make their nests in trees. They excavate a hole in decaying wood which they line with hair, fur, wood chips, and sometimes feathers. They will occasionally use nest boxes if they are filled with wood chips.

They lay 6-8 white smooth, glossy eggs with reddish spots and blotches which are incubated by the female alone for 13-15 days. After hatching the chicks are fed by both parents and they fledge at 17-19 days.

Feeding

Willow tits eat mainly insects but in autumn and winter will supplement their diet with seeds and berries.

Willow Tit

Where to see them

Willow tits are found all year round in England, Wales, and southern Scotland. They can be spotted in willow thickets and other damp places such as peat bogs, marshes, and near gravel pits.

Listen

Stanislas Wroza/xeno-canto

Did you know?

There are 14 subspecies of willow tit. The one resident in the UK is P. m. kleinschmidti, and others can be found as far afield as China, Japan, and Kazakhstan.

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