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Facts and Information on the Great Tit

Updated on May 29, 2018
Wikimedia (public domain worldwide)
Wikimedia (public domain worldwide) | Source

The Great Tit (Parus major) is mainly a woodland bird and a regular visitor to gardens. It's a family of small birds among other birds such as the blue tit, marsh tit, willow tit, coal tit, crested tit, long-tailed tit and the bearded tit, and all in the family Paridae.

The Great Tit is one of the largest bird in the tit family and almost the same size of a house sparrow (Passer domesticus). The Great Tit is well marked and a colorful bird which means it stands out very well and can be easily recognized. Even the two syllable song it sings is very distinctive compared to its appearance.

The mature male tit has white cheeks with the neck and glossy head being black. The throat is also black which continues down the middle of the bird's breast with the underparts being distinctively yellow. The upper-parts appear to be olive or greenish-bluish, but the wingbar (the sections of its folded wing) is noticeably white. The tail appears blue and grey with outer feathers appearing white.The female Great Tit on the other hand is quite similar to the adult male but the black line on the breast is a little narrower and less glossy. The juvenile ones have colors which are a lot duller and paler.

In general and to add further, the Great Tits have several different colors, with the feathers having an assortment of white, blue, grey, black, green, yellow and cream color. The color of their beak is between black and grey and it's short and thin, but the beak is tough enough to crack nuts it feeds on. The legs also appears between black and grey. With all these distinctive and vibrant colors, it can be easily recognized as the Great Tit if spotted.

The Great Tit Singing

As I've already mentioned that the Great Tits can be recognized by their colors, but their voice is another way to identify it further. However, they do have several different tones and the sound may be perceived differently to the individual human ear, but it depends how close a person is listening to the songbird. Although their sounds can be varied, they do utter a repeated rough-voiced alarm call which goes something like 'tche-tche-tche-tche' or a call like 'chink-chink-chink'. The song they sing can be heard between spring and the summer season and it's rather like a 'teacher-teacher-teacher' theme with a high sharp tone, in other words, the treble frequency is high which can be instantly picked up by the human ear.

Wikimedia (public domain worldwide)
Wikimedia (public domain worldwide) | Source

The Great Tits will nest in natural tree-holes in countrysides, or twigs of older nests or maybe in wall cavities. They even nest in plant pots or even nest boxes as long as the entrance hole is of an appropriate size. The nest is usually made of wool, grass, moss and garnished with certain plants,hairs and feathers. The females do most of the work by building the nest and sometimes the males does help a little, but they do feed the female while she is incubating and laying eggs. The female lays around 6-14 eggs. The incubation is between 12-14 days and the breeding starts in March. After the chicks hatch, it is both the male and female adults responsibility to feed them.

Great Tits feed on insects, and such insects are spiders, beetles, butterflies and caterpillars and also other types of worms. They will also feed on fruit, seeds, coconuts, berries and nuts such as beech and hazel. As mentioned earlier, their short and thin beak is sufficiently strong to crack the nuts. They love to bask around the gardens whether in rural or urban areas and enjoy searching for food, even at bird tables and this helps them through the winter season. Also during the breeding season, it takes readily to nest boxes of a hole large enough for them to enter and exit. In general, especially in the winter, the Great Tits meet the other species of tits and they join together in the countryside to find food.

The habitat of the Great Tits is widespread. They can be found throughout Middle and Northern Asia, Northern Africa and in Europe. Apart from gardens, they are mainly seen in the woodlands, parks, cities, towns, mangroves and forests. They measure between 14-15 centimeters which makes them the largest in the family Paridae. Their wingspan is between 21-25 centimeters and weigh of an average 18 grams both male and female. So the Great Tits tend to be the dominant ones out of all the other tit birds.

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    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      What wonderful and endearing little birds, with beautiful nestlings. Thanks for the excellent material on the Great Tit.

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