Long-tailed Tit.


The Long-tailed Tit is a small bird that belongs to the order Passeriformes, and hence it is known as a Passerine bird. It is scientifically called as Aegithalos caudatus. It belongs to the family Aegithalidae, which is closely related to the Tits belonging to the Paridae family. It is noted that during winter season the Long-tailed Tit is seen along with the Tit flocks, or also their own flocks and due to their fluffy appearance, they have been described as “avian sheep”.


These birds are found in most parts of Europe and Asia and they are non-migratory. However, it is seen that some birds that are from the north eastern European regions are known to migrate during the winter season. It is mostly found in the deciduous forests, dense vegetations or woodlands that have sufficient undergrowth like hedgerows and scrubby thickets. They are also seen in woods and parks and gardens and are seen mostly in the winter seasons.

These birds are very tiny in size, and can be only about 13 to 15 centimetres in length. This length includes its tail that is very long, about 7 to 9 centimetres long. The Long-tailed Tit is a bird that is very easy to identify. These birds are often seen to be in tight groups that are very noisy. They appear like tiny fluff-balls and their long tail is unmistakeable. This bird is brown coloured on its upper regions and is whitish on its lower body, having reddish coloured flanks, and its head is also white in colour. The birds that are seen in the North European regions are seen to be having head and flanks that are completely white coloured. The subspecies of the Long-tailed Tits are seen to have variously coloured plumage. These subspecies will hybridize commonly and it is observed that the zone of hybridization between the two species of europaeus and caudatus is seemingly moving in an eastern direction.

These species of birds are seen to be a very restless type of birds as they are always on the look out for food such as insects and also other food stuffs. They are seen in flocks that can comprise of up to 30 individual birds in each flock.

The birds breed during the months of February and all the way till July. During this time, these birds form pairs that are monogamous and the birds will raise only about six to eight eggs at a time. They make nests that are woven and closed, that is, the nests are hidden within trees or shrubs. This nest is camouflaged using lichens and the materials used in making the nest are held together by using spider webs. Sometimes, when the nests are attacked by certain predators, the adult birds from those nests will help the other birds to raise their offspring.

It is often observed that when a bird gets lost or separated from its flock, then the other birds go back to find and rescue the bird. The consistent call of the birds hence helps them to stay together in the flock.