Willow Tit

Poecile montanus

Identification is not easy as Marsh Tits and Willow Tits are very similar. Willow Tits have a large rounded head which gives the bird the appearance of having no neck. The long, dull black cap stretches back to the mantle and sits above the white cheeks. The upperparts are a uniform brown, darker on the wings where the pale edges of the flight feathers produce a pale wing panel that may sometimes be visible in the field. The black bib is slightly larger than in the Marsh Tit and is less neatly defined.

The calls of Willow and Marsh Tits are very different. The most commonly heard call note for the Marsh Tit is a clear ‘pitchou’, whereas that uttered by the Willow Tit is a thin ‘zi-zurr-zurr-zurr’ or equally thin ‘zee-zee-zee’.

There are not many Willow Tits in Scotland, particularly in the north. Willow Tits are unlikely to be found nesting in nest boxes, preferring to hollow out the stump of an old, well-rotted tree. These newly excavated nest sites are often taken over by Blue Tits, so providing nest boxes for Blue Tits may well be the best way to help Willow Tits!

  • Small nest box with hole
  • Nest height: 1m to 5m above ground with clear flight path to entrance
  • The nest is made of moss and lined with soft material such as hair
  • Egg laying starts between late March and early June. One brood
  • 6-8 days
  • Incubation time: 14 days
  • Nestlings fledge after 17 - 20 days