Long-tailed tit

©Jon Hawkins

Long-tailed tit

Scientific name: Aegithalos caudatus
Living up to its name, the long-tailed tit can be easily recognised by its long tail. It is a small, pretty, pink, black and white bird that can be seen in woodlands, gardens and parks.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 14cm
Wingspan: 18cm
Weight: 9g
Average lifespan: 2 years

Conservation status

Common. Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015).

When to see

January to December

About

The long-tailed tit is a tiny bird of hedgerows, woodland, parks and gardens. It builds a domed nest our of moss in a bush or the fork of a tree, and camouflages it with cobwebs and lichen. It lines the nest with as many as 1,500 feathers to make it soft for the eight to twelve eggs it lays. Long-tailed tits are active feeders, hunting out insects and spiders among the smaller branches and leaves of trees in woodlands. But they are also well-adapted to gardens and towns and will visit birdtables and feeders. In winter, they form flocks with other tits, roaming woodlands, parks and gardens, and commons and heaths with suitable bushes.

How to identify

The long-tailed tit does, indeed, have a long black-and-white tail that is bigger than its body. It has a black, white and pink back, a white head with a wide, black eyestripe, and a pale pink belly.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Sociable and noisy, long-tailed tits are usually spotted roaming about in flocks of 20 or more birds during the winter. At night, long-tailed tits cluster together to keep warm.

How people can help

Whether you live in town or country, you can help to look after garden birds by providing food and water for them. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit the wildlife gardening section of the website, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started. To buy bird food, feeders and other wildlife products, visit the Vine House Farm website (www.vinehousefarm.co.uk) - an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm that gives 4% of every sale plus £10 commission for each new customer to The Wildlife Trusts.