Paridae - Tits

The tits are small, acrobatic birds with a gregarious nature. The true tits (family Paridae) are generally similar in size and shape, with most having a short legs and a sturdy bill, which suits their omnivorous diet, mostly of insects in the summer and a wide range of fruit and berries in the winter. Some species have adapted readily to man and the Blue Tit is a regular and welcome vistor to the bird table in Britain. Tits are distributed throughout Eurasia, Africa (except the Sahara) and North America. Most species nest in tree holes or similar, and lay 10-15 eggs in a clutch, but in a single clutch each year - timed for peak caterpillar abundance to feed their young. In part because of its willingness to nest in artificial tree holes (i.e. nest-boxes) the Great Tit must be one of the most studied birds in the world, with detailed research on wild populations having been ongoing for almost a hundred years.

The delightful Long-tailed Tit is not a true tit, but rather belongs to a closely-related small family (the Aegithalidae) characterised by their long tails and intricate nests woven from moss, lichen and cobwebs. They are highly sociable and the Long-tailed Tit is one of two species in Britain (the other is Moorhen) in which young stay to help their parents rear young (so-called 'co-operative breeding').

Regularly Occurring Species

Bearded Tit (Timaliidae)
Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalidae)
Marsh Tit
Willow Tit
Crested Tit
Coal Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit

Occasional Visitors

Penduline Tit (Remizidae)