Longtailed tit

Aegithalos caudatus

TAXONOMY

Aegithalos caudatus Linnaeus, 1758. Nineteen subspecies are recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Mésange à longue queue; German: Schwanzmeise; Spanish: Satrecito de Cola Larga.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5-6.3 in (13-16 cm). Small tit with extremely long tail, plumage variable across range but generally a mix of black, white, and pink.

DISTRIBUTION

The most widespread of the long-tailed tit family with a range from western Europe through Asia, and into China and Japan.

HABITAT

Woodland, deciduous, and mixed with plenty of scrub in which to forage and nest.

BEHAVIOR

A gregarious and acrobatic species, often first picked up on call (tsee-tsee-tsee). Flock frequently observed flying in single file, one bird at a time, from bush to bush. Roost communally on branches, huddled together in cold weather.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Largely invertebrates, especially insects and spiders.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nests March to June. Oval ball-shaped nest of moss and lichen, lined with feathers, located low in bushes and shrubs. Clutch 8-12 eggs, incubation 12-18 days, fledging 14-18 days. Nonbreeding birds may assist parents with feeding of young.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Common across range, suffers after harsh winters, and takes a few years to recover population.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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