Long-tailed Tits Aegithalos caudatus on branch looking left

Wildlife

Long-tailed Tits (Aegithalos caudatus)

4 Jan , 2018  

Long-tailed Tits are not really tits at all. And not a lot of people know that.

It is an entirely different family, Aegithalidae from the other three species Blue, Great and Coal Tit we find in our gardens. Which are all members of the Paridae family. The Long-tailed Tit is very closely related to the babbler family of birds found in Africa and south-east Asia.

Weighing about the same as a new £1 coin (9.5 grams) these small birds form flocks of 10-30 individuals in winter. Long-tailed Tits have a small body mass and they need to keep warm on cold winter nights. These large winter flocks allow the individuals to huddle together in a roost and therefore keep warm.

Group of Long-tailed Tits Aegithalos caudatus on feeder

A group of Long-tailed Tits Aegithalos caudatus feeding on garden feeder

In 2016, we enjoyed having a large winter flock using our garden from October onward. But 2017 has been very different. We have only rarely seen an individual in the garden let alone flocks of 10-15 birds. On Christmas Eve, we saw our first large flock. Now these large flocks are visiting two or three times a day. We don’t know if it is the same flock or several but at least the Long-tails are back.

Have you had any sightings?

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