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Long-tailed Tit

A distinctive tiny bird with a long tail that is usually seen in feeding parties in winter and are quite frequent in gardens now

Photograph by: 
Peter Orchard

What an enchanting little bird the long-tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus) is! I never cease to be captivated by them whenever I see them.

You would think, of course, that it was related to the great, blue and coal tits but it is not. It is the only British member of the family Aegithalidae whereas the others are Parudae; not a lot of people know that!

Long-tailed tit are a gregarious race, especially in winter when they travel together in feeding parties. They are itinerant and are always on the move and rarely stopping in one place for very long. You never see one alone; as you look around you see more and more. They also huddle together at night for warmth; being so small they are very susceptible to the cold and suffer heavy losses in hard winters.

A run of much milder winters here in Dorset has seen numbers increase through enhanced winter survival rates and that increase in population levels is reflected in them being seen more and more in gardens. Having not featured in the RSPB top 20 garden birds before, in the last couple of years they have become our 14th most common garden bird with, on average, 1.03 being recorded in each garden. As I said above, however, they travel in feeding parties and it is likely that about one in fifteen gardens report them with around fifteen birds seen in each. Sadly, the results of the survey do not show the number of gardens that recorded them.


 

Common Name Long-tailed Tit
Scientific Name Aegithalos caudatus
Species Group Birds Titmice and Wrens
Status Occasional
Interest Level
1
Visabile
  • 01 - January
  • 02 - February
  • 03 - March
  • 04 - April
  • 05 - May
  • 06 - June
  • 07 - July
  • 08 - August
  • 09 - September
  • 10 - October
  • 11 - November
  • 12 - December
Look for

The unmistakable long tail

Identification Notes
  • Often seen in family feeding parties
  • Always on the move, never settle anywhere for long
  • Listen for constant tweeting noises in the decidous tress and shrubs
Primary Habitat
Preferred Environment
Look for
Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Birds Titmice and Wrens