Long Tailed Tits are one of my favourite birds. They are gregarious, noisy and so interesting to watch in the garden.
We have lots of Long Tailed Tits around Folly View. We see them most days over the Winter time flitting from tree to tree with their hangers on, the blue Tits, Great Tits and Coal Tits.
The Long Tailed Tit is not closely related to the Tit family but they spend so much time with the aforementioned Tits they have been thought to be part of that genius.
Long Tailed Tits, as the name says, have a long tail which is longer than their small fluffy bodies. They weigh about 7-10grams and have wing span of 16-19 cms and a body length of 14 cms.
At this time of year, winter, Long Tailed Tits are seen flying around chattering noisily in large flocks. They fly from tree to tree feeding on insects and invertebrates. They will in hard winters feed on seeds.
Long Tailed Tits are easily recognised by their long tail but are also easily recognised by their colouring which is a creamy, white background colour, with dark coloured wings of a black brown with a pinky highlighting and punky black stripes on their heads.
At night Long Tailed Tits huddle together for warmth. If they didn’t do this they would not survive . They roost deep in shrubbery such as Hawthorne which also provides protection from predators.
In Spring the large flocks of winter split up and pair off. Long Tailed Tits can start building their intricate nests in February and can take up to three weeks to build. Their nests are made of moss, lichen, feathers and spider silk and are beautifully domed.
Long Tailed Tits have six to eight eggs laid in April, which take three weeks to incubate, with the chicks taking two weeks to fledged.
There is a high rate of predation of nests and Long Tailed Tits will help others if they have lost their nest.
Over the last twenty five years the Long Tailed Tit population has increased by 79%. So if you hear a lot of chittering at this time of year while out walking it is probably a flock of Long Tailed Tits.