Long tailed tit

A long tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus) photographed in the park a couple of weeks ago by Cheryl Cronnie.

Long tailed tits spend the winter in small family-based flocks, jittering and squeaking through the trees in pursuit of insect food. The flocks break up in the early spring into pairs and each pair builds a bottle-shaped nest of moss and lichen, stuck together with cobwebs and lined with hundreds of feathers. The cobwebs allow the nest to stretch under the pressure of a large and fast-growing long tailed tit family.

[1] Long tailed tit bringing lichen to a part built nest, and [2] the finished structure.

The female generally lays between 8 and 12 eggs but nests have been found in which 15 eggs were being incubated. A long-tailed tit pair may have help to feed their many chicks, usually from related birds that have lost their own nest to predators: in some areas up to 80% of nests are predated. The extra help measurably boosts the survival rate of the nestlings.

It takes between 14 and 18 days for the baby birds to grow big enough to leave the nest.

Pictures of long tailed tits taken in the reserve by DKG in 2019

UK conservation statusGreen
Size: 14 cm head to tail
Weight: 8g
Wingspan: 16 – 19 cm
Eggs: 8 – 12 per brood
Population: Stable at 340,000 breeding pairs

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