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Great Tit - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Clarke Robinson
London, England, February 2007
Parus major

Includes: Turkestan Tit

Identification

12·5–14 cm (5-5½ in); the largest European tit

  • Yellow and green
  • Glossy black head
  • White cheeks
  • Vertical black stripe on chest (broader on male)
Turkestan Tit
Photo © by Askar Isabekov
Kazakhstan Shelek (Chilik), Enbekshikazakh region, Alma Ata oblast, Kazakhstan, March 2007

Juvenile: cheeks are yellowish

Similar Species

The occasional bird is much greyer than the typical one, and needs to be compared carefully to Coal Tit which has two wing bars, different shape to the white spot on rear head/nape, and looks larger headed.

Distribution

From Europe and north Africa through central Asia to western China.
In Wisconsin, USA, this species has been observed regularly (including breeding) for several years, but at this time the species is not considered established by any North American birding authorities.

Taxonomy

Cinereous Tit and Japanese Tit were formerly included in this species. Turkestan Tit (bokharensis, ferghanensis and turkestanicus) was formerly considered a full species.

Subspecies

Juveniles
Photo © by the late Chocky
Devon, UK, May 2014
Photo © by markranner
Tomintoul, Moray, Scotland, February 2018

This is a polytypic species [1] consisting of 15 subspecies:

Habitat

Parks, woodlands and gardens all over Europe

Behaviour

A woodland bird but nowadays a garden bird. Sometimes aggressive, fighting with other tits. In winter forms mixed feeding flocks with Blue Tit, Coal Tit. Eurasian Treecreeper and other species

Frequent visitor to birdtables and seed-dispensers, thus well known. Bold, at times plain audacious, may take seed from outstretched hand.

Diet

Insects and seeds, suet, beech nuts etc.

Breeding

Breeds in all kinds of woodland (incl. in desolate taiga in far north) and in immediate proximity of man in parks and gardens.

Nests in roomy nestbox, tree-hole (e.g. decayed fruit tree), air duct and even letterbox. The clutch consists of 5-12 white eggs spotted reddish-brown which are incubated for around 2 weeks. The young fledge at around 16-22 days.

There may be a second brood if there is plenty of food. The breeding season runs between April to August in the UK.

Vocalisation

Listen in an external program

References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Bird Watching
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved August 2014)

Recommended Citation

External Links


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