common species at bird-tables, these attractive little birds are
found throughout Europe, Asia and north west Africa. Blue tits have
a wingspan of 12-14cm, a body length of 12cm and weigh about 11g.
They have yellow under-parts with blue wings, a blue tail and a
blue cap. Adults have white cheeks, but those of the juveniles are
yellow. When they are excited, they raise the short crest on their
tits inhabit deciduous woodland, parks, gardens and farmland hedges.
They feed on small insects, spiders, fruits, seeds and nectar.
Blue tits forage for food in the tree canopy, although they do spend
some time on the ground searching for food, especially in the winter.
Males are generally monogamous although some have been recorded
breeding with two females.
The timing of the egg-laying and the size of the clutch is related
to the abundance of moth caterpillars. The nest is cup-shaped and
made of moss and grass and lined with hair, feathers and wool, positioned
in a hole in a tree or wall. The female lays 7-13 eggs in April-May,
which she incubates for 12-16 days. The male feeds the female while
she is brooding, and when the chicks hatch, both parents feed them.
The chicks fledge after 19 days. Blue tits sometimes rear two broods
a year, but this almost never happens in Britain.
Blue tits are not considered to be globally threatened. They are
generally very common throughout their range. There may be 3,300,000
pairs in Britain today. Blue tits have a range of calls, including
seeseedu and cherrrr-errr-err, but the song is a cheerful tsee-tsee-tsu-tsuhuhu.