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Coal Tit

Coal Tit

Parus ater

Key Facts

  • Length: 12cm
  • Wingspan: 19cm
  • Weight: 9g
  • Average Lifespan: 2 years

Coal Tits are small tits of coniferous woodland mainly, although they will also appear in parks and gardens where there are conifer trees.

They nest in holes in trees, but are just as happy to use nestboxes as substitutes. Tits are active feeders, hunting out insects and spiders amongst the smaller branches of trees in woodlands. But they are also well-adapted to gardens and towns and will visit birdtables and feeders. In winter, they will form flocks with other tits, roaming woodlands and gardens. Coal Tits have a song of repeated phrases: ‘situi’ and ‘tsevi’.

How to Identify

Coal Tits are grey above, buff below, with white cheeks, a black cap and a white neck patch. Coal Tits can be distinguished from the similar Marsh and Willow Tits by their white wingbars and white patch at the back of the head. Marsh and Willow Tits have plain wings and entirely black caps.

Where to Find

Widespread.

How People Can Help

You can help to look after Coal Tits and other garden birds by providing food and water for them – it doesn’t matter if you have a big garden or live in a high-rise flat, there are plenty of feeders, baths and food choices out there to suit all kinds of situations. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there’s plenty of facts and tips to get you started. To buy bird food or feeders, visit the Vine House Farm website – an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm which gives 5% of all its takings to The Wildlife Trusts.

Did you know?

There are several subspecies of Coal Tit: the Irish subspecies has very pale yellow cheeks, whereas the British subspecies has white cheeks.

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