Tarvin Online Logo

Tarvin Birds: Long-tailed Tit

13th May 2021 @ 6:06am – by Charles Bradley
Back home  »  News  »  Tarvin Birds: Long-tailed Tit
long-tailed-tit-on-dead-woodlong-tailed-tit

Birds in Tarvin Community Woodland.

Long-tailed Tit

Aegithalos caudatus

Right click on this link and open in a new tab to listen to them whilst reading the article. Long Tailed Tit Song
Our monthly bird surveys in the woodland have revealed that long-tailed tits are seen in most months. Whether that equates to a resident population is a moot point but I think that it is fair to consider them as one of our woodland birds. However, at no point have they been anywhere near as plentiful as their relatives, the Great Tit or the Blue Tit.

The long-tailed tits are easily recognisable, having the classic tit-style of body, but with a long black-and-white tail which makes up more than half of their total length. Their back is black, white and pink, the head white with a wide, black eye-stripe, and their belly a pale pink. They are exceedingly gregarious and noisy birds and are most often noticed in small, excitable flocks of about 20 birds, whose undulating flight is quite eye-catching. Their calls are an invaluable aid to locating and identifying these birds. When in flocks, they produce constant contact calls and very often can be heard before they are seen. There are three main calls: a single high-pitched "pit", a 'triple-trill' "eez-eez-eez" and a rattling "schnuur". The calls become faster and louder when the birds cross open ground or if an individual becomes separated from the group. Long-tailed tits are very active feeders, hunting out insects, spiders and the eggs and larvae of moths and butterflies among the smaller branches and leaves of trees in the woodland.

Despite being so much longer than its close relatives the great tit and blue tit, the long-tailed tit is still a very tiny bird. From July to February, during the non-breeding season, they form flocks (of both relatives and non-relatives) which roost communally, often clustering together to keep warm. When the breeding season begins, the flocks break up, and the birds attempt to breed in monogamous pairs. Males will usually remain within their winter territory, while females have a tendency to wander into neighbouring territories to find a mate. The pair builds a beautifully domed nest out of moss in a bush or the fork of a tree. The structural stability of this nest is provided by some clever engineering, involving a mesh of moss and spider silk. The tiny leaves of the moss act as hooks and the silk surrounding spider egg cocoons provides the loops; thereby forming a natural form of Velcro. The tit covers the outside of the nest with hundreds of flakes of pale lichens, to provide camouflage, while inside it lines the nest with more than 2,000 downy feathers to provide insulation and to make a soft bed for the eight to twelve eggs to be laid there. Predation seriously reduces the number of fledglings that reach adulthood, but sufficient do to maintain a stable population.

Get In Touch

TarvinOnline is powered by our active community.

Please send us your news and views.

Village Map

© 2021 TarvinOnline