Yellow underparts, yellow-green upperparts, black and white head and broad black stripe down breast.
|Length: 14 cm (5½")|
|Wing Span: 22-25 cm (9-10")|
|Weight: 16-21 g (½-¾ oz)||
Like the male but narrower breast stripe.
|Breeding Pairs: 1 600 000|
|Present: All Year|
The Great Tit is the largest European tit - about the size of a House Sparrow.
The crown, nape and throat are black. The cheeks are white. The breast and belly are yellow with a black stripe down the centre. There is a white wing bar across the blue-grey wings. The back is a yellowish-green and the rump is blue-grey. Legs are grey-blue and the bill is black.
The sexes can be told apart by the width of the black stripe down the breast - the males have a broader stripe than the females.
Juveniles are paler and duller with yellowish cheeks and wing bar.
The Great Tits' song is varied, but it's perhaps best known for for its piercing "teacher-teacher" song, which sounds very much like a bicycle pump, and is usually heard in the spring and summer.
A common call is a repeated "chink", which can be confused with the "pink pink" call of the Chaffinch.
Great tits feed on insects, such as caterpillars and spiders, seeds, like beech mast, and berries.
In the garden they will feed from hanging feeders containing nuts and seeds, such as sunflower hearts, or on kitchen scraps from bird tables.
They sometimes follow Coal Tits to their caches of seeds in the hanging baskets, etc.
They will nest in a hole in a tree or wall, or among the twigs of old nests. The nest is a cup made from moss, grass and down, and lined with hair, plant down and feathers. Nest boxes are frequently used.
The Great Tit's eggs are the largest of the British tits at 18 mm by 14 mm; they are smooth and glossy, and white with purplish-red spots. The female incubates the eggs by herself. After the young hatch, they are fed by both parents.
|Breeding Starts||Number of Clutches||Number of Eggs||Incubation (days)||Fledge (days)|
Great Tits are resident and generally sedentary, though birds that breed in upland areas move to lowlands (altitudinal migration) for the winter.
In the winter, the east coast of Britain often has continental birds.
Generally, the Great Tit is doing well, both expanding its range and increasing in abundance. This may be a result of milder winters and using nest boxes and feeders in gardens.
The chart shows the maximum number of Great Tits visiting the garden at any one time in a particular week. The numbers of birds seem steady throughout the year, but they visit less frequent in late summer when there are adequate supplies of insects, etc., in the local woodlands.
The flocks in the autumn are probably in search of food because of inclement weather or short supplies of beech mast, etc., in the woods. However, the beech mast crops failed in 2001 and rather than seeing increased numbers of Great Tits in the garden we saw very few, so presumably they wintered elsewhere.
During the last few years, a gradual decline in the numbers of Great Tits visiting the garden has become evident but there are early signs of a recovery.
"The Great Tit", Hamlyn (details)
Site Map |
Contact Us |
About Us |
Album Pages | Bird Guide | Discussion | Field Trips | Guestbook | Information | Links | Quiz | Report | Trophies