Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
Long-tailed Tit, Monks Eleigh, Suffolk, England, October 2007

The Long-tailed Tit is found throughout most of Europe and in a band across Asia into Japan and China.

Although in a seperate family, it is closely related to true tits and, were it not for its very long tail, would be the size of a Coal Tit Parus ater.

Long-tailed Tit, Monks Eleigh, Suffolk, England, October 2007 The sub-species found in western Europe, A. c. rosaceus, has a white head with a broad black band running above the eye to the nape. The back is black with reddish-brown scapulars and the long, black tail has white edges. Below is whitish with reddish-brown flanks and belly.

Other sub-species show varying amounts of reddish-brown on the body and head patterns varying to all white in the north European sub-species, the nominate A. c. caudatus.

Long-tailed Tit, Edinburgh, Scotland, February 2005 - click for larger image In winter it is often seen in small flocks making a quiet, twittering song as they flit about gleaning small insects and larvae from the vegetation.

These flocks consist of a family party of parents and offspring from the previous breeding season with any extra adults that have helped to raise the brood. These helpers improve the survival rate of the young.

Long-tailed Tit, Alton Water, Suffolk, March 2005 - click for larger image At the start of the breeding season, the flock breaks up into pairs, with territories within the territory of the winter flock.
Long-tailed Tit, Edinburgh, Scotland, March 2005 - click for larger image
Long-tailed Tit, Edinburgh, Scotland, March 2005 - click for larger image
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