Long-tailed Tit

Long-tailed Tit

Summary:

Profile Long-Tailed Tit     Literature page Long-Tailed

[order] Passeriformes | [family] Aegithalidae | [latin] Aegithalos caudatus | [UK] Long-Tailed Tit | [FR] Mésange à longue queue | [DE] Schwanzmeise | [ES] Satrecito de Cola Larga | [IT] Codibugnolo | [NL] Staartmees

Staartmees determination

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The long-tailed tit has a tiny, plump, fluffy body, an extremely long tail and a combination of black, cream and pink plumage. The creamy-white head has a black stripe over the eye. Juveniles have shorter tails, browner plumage with dark cheeks and very little pink colour in the feathers. The flight is weak, undulating and restless. Its small size makes it vulnerable to cold weather and groups of birds, usually family parties, roost huddled tightly together for warmth.

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

Aegithalos caudatus is a widespread resident across most of Europe, which accounts
for less than half of its global range. Its European breeding population is very large
(>5,000,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although there were slight
declines in the sizeable French and Turkish populations during 1990-2000, trends
were stable or increasing across most of Europe, and the species remained stable
overall.

Mainly small insects, spiders and their larvae which live on buds, leaves, branches and twigs. Predator of bugs, froghoppers and leafhoppers, spiders and harvestmen, flies, thrips, beetles, weevils and sawflies.


This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population, including an estimated 10,000,000-24,000,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified; there is evidence of population fluctuations (Harrap and Quinn 1996, Snow and Perrins 1998), but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]


Nesting from March to June, the Long-tailed tits make a rounded, oval nest which, remarkably, can contain several thousand feathers, held together with silk from spiders’ webs. This is often low down in gorse, bramble, blackthorn or hawthorn. The nest may take up to 3 weeks to build and be lined with more than 2000 feathers. Long-Tailed Tits adjust their nest-building behaviour according to the nest’s thermal environment. Moreover, nest structure appears to be adjusted to prevailing environmental conditions rather than being a function of feather availability or time constraints.
The incubation period of Long-tailed Tits is highly variable, ranging from 14 to 21 days. Females alone incubate the eggs, but males provide females with some food during the incubation period, although females must also forage for themselves. The clutch is usually 8-12 eggs, the young fledge after 14-18 days. Nonbreeding birds may assist parents with feeding of young.

Mainly sedentary in most years over much of range, but irregular and sometimes massive irruptive movements, associated with high population levels, reported from central and northern areas. Birds generally move over short distances during day in cohesive flocks which may be maintained for many months. Autumn movements are late, often peaking mid-October or even later. Spring passage little observed, even after strong irruptions. Individuals of northern (white-headed) race very rarely reach eastern England and Scotland.

Specification

  1. Measurements
  2. spanwidth min.: 17 cm
  3. spanwidth max.: 19 cm
  4. size min.: 14 cm
  5. size max.: 15 cm
  6. Breeding
  7. incubation min.: 14 days
  8. incubation max.: 16 days
  9. fledging min.: 14 days
  10. fledging max.: 18 days
  11. broods 1
  12. eggs min.: 7
  13. eggs max.: 13
  14. Conservation Status
  15. Staartmees status Least Concern

Subspecies

  1. Aegithalos caudatus macedonicus
  2. Aegithalos caudatus caudatus
  3. Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus
  4. Aegithalos caudatus europaeus
  5. Aegithalos caudatus aremoricus
  6. Aegithalos caudatus taiti
  7. Aegithalos caudatus irbii
  8. Aegithalos caudatus
  9. EU widespread
  10. Aegithalos caudatus siculus
  11. Aegithalos caudatus magnus
  12. Aegithalos caudatus tephronotus
  13. Aegithalos caudatus tauricus
  14. Aegithalos caudatus major
  15. Aegithalos caudatus alpinus
  16. Aegithalos caudatus passekii
  17. Aegithalos caudatus trivirgatus
  18. Aegithalos caudatus kiusiuensis
  19. Aegithalos caudatus italiae
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