Tit (Paridae)


The tits are a widespread family of birds, occurring over most of Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa. The bills of the tits are generally short, and vary between stout and fine dependent on diet. The more insectivorous species have finer bills, whereas those that consume more seeds have stouter bills.

Tits are active, noisy, and social birds. They are territorial during the breeding season and often join mixed-species feeding flocks during the nonbreeding season. The tits are highly adaptable, and after the corvids (crows and jays) and parrots, amongst the most intelligent of all birds

 Genus Parus

Great tit (Parus major) Resident
Great Tit (Parus Major) Copyright Peter Drury

Great Tit (Parus Major)
Copyright Peter Drury

It is a widespread and common species throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central and Northern Asia, and parts of North Africa in any sort of woodland. It is generally resident, and most great tits do not migrate except in extremely harsh winters.

The great tit is a distinctive bird, with a black head and neck, prominent white cheeks, olive upperparts and yellow underparts, with some variation amongst the numerous subspecies. It is predominantly insectivorous in the summer, but will consume a wider range of food items in the winter months.

Where these can be seen: These are seen in the shrubs alongside the Hayling Billy Trail.

 Genus Cyanistes

Cyanistes is a genus of tits. It is frequently subsumed into Parus. It consists of a number of small species found in temperate Europe and Asia and Northern Africa.

Eurasian blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)  Resident
 Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) Copyright Peter Drury

Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Copyright Peter Drury

Eurasian blue tits, usually resident and non-migratory birds, are widespread and a common resident breeder throughout temperate and subarctic Europe and western Asia in deciduous or mixed woodlands with a high proportion of oak. They usually nest in tree holes, although they easily adapt to nest boxes where necessary. Their main rival for nests and in the search for food is the larger great tit.

The Eurasian blue tit prefers insects and spiders for its diet. Outside the breeding season, they also eat seeds and other vegetable-based foods. The birds are famed for their skill, as they can cling to the outermost branches and hang upside down when looking for food.

 Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) Copyright Peter Drury

Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Copyright Peter Drury

The Eurasian blue tit is usually 12 centimetres (4.7 in) long with a wingspan of 18 centimetres (7.1 in) for all genders, and weighs about 11 grams (0.39 oz). A typical Eurasian blue tit has an azure blue crown and dark blue line passing through the eye, and encircling the white cheeks to the chin, giving the bird a very distinctive appearance. The forehead and a bar on the wing are white. The nape, wings and tail are blue and the back is yellowish green. The underparts is mostly sulphur-yellow with a dark line down the abdomen – the yellowness is indicative of the number of yellowy-green caterpillars eaten, due to high levels of carotene pigments in the diet. The bill is black, the legs bluish grey, and the irides dark brown. The sexes are similar, but under ultraviolet light, males have a brighter blue crown. Young blue tits are noticeably more yellow.

Where these can be seen: These can be seen in the shrubs lining the Hayling Billy Trail

 Tit Gallery