Parus Montanus - Willow Tit

Source: British Garden Birds (

Length 12 cm
Weight: 9-11 g
Present: All Year
Wing Span: 17-18 cm
Breeding Pairs in Great Brittan: 25 000
Status: Red List


The Willow Tit and the Marsh Tit are very similar, and very difficult to tell apart. Indeed, the two were only recognised as separate species at the end of the 19th century.
They both have black caps, sandy-brown upper parts, and buff underparts. The Willow Tit is scruffier looking than the Marsh Tit: it has a duller cap, a large bib, a pale patch on the wing (which is actually formed by pale edges to its secondary and tertial wing feathers) and its bulging nape makes it look "bull-necked". The Coal Tit is similar, but has a white patch on the nape and a much larger bib.


The Willow Tit has a buzzing nasal call, like "tchay-tchay-tchay", and its song is "pee-oo pee-oo".


Willow Tits are not common garden birds, preferring damp woodland with birch and alder trees, or hedgerows. 
They feed on insects and seeds, and will take nuts, especially in wintertime.


The female excavates a cavity in a dead tree or tree stump, which is then lined with wood fibres, hair and feathers.They can be encouraged to use nest boxes, but these have to be filled with wood chippings for the birds to excavate.
The small (16 mm by 12 mm) eggs are smooth and glossy, and white with reddish-brown speckles. The female incubates the eggs by herself. After the young hatch, they are fed by both parents.

Breeding Starts Number of Clutches Number of Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
April-May 1 5-13 13-15 17-19


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