Coal Tit- Hebridean Birds

Western Isles Birds Sightings - Coal Tits.

Coal tits are an uncommon resident breeder - mainly appear on The Isle of Lewis and usually around the Castle Grounds at Stornoway

The coal tit has a distinctive grey back, black cap, and white patch at the back of its neck. Its smaller, more slender bill than blue or great tits means it can feed more successfully in conifers.
Coal Tit - Isle of Lewis
Bird Overview - Coal Tits
Family
Tits
Latin name
Periparus ater

 Population
Common


Similar Species
Great Tit
Willow Tit
Marsh Tit
Description

The Coal Tit is a small tit, in fact the smallest European tit, and could be confused with the Marsh and Willow Tits - except that it has a white patch on the nape.

The upperparts are a olive-grey, the underparts buff. The crown and large bib are black and the cheeks and nape are white.

The coal tits have two white wing bars on each wing - this feature separates it from the Marsh and Willow Tits if the nape is not visible.

The birds' legs legs are blue-grey.

Young birds are browner above, and the underparts, cheeks, nape and wing bars are more yellow.

 



Size
11.5 cm (4½") - Wing Span: 17-21 cm (7-8")
Habitat
The Coal tits mainly occur in conifer woods, but are also found in mixed forest. They also breed in parks and gardens with suitable conifers. I suspect that on The Isle of Lewis they perhaps breed in the Stornoway Castle Grounds.
Food
Coal tits forage for seeds, insects (especially aphids) and spiders in the treetops.).

Voice
"Pee-chew" id the high pitched call these lovely little birds make.
Breeding

 

Breeding is around late April. Coal tits nest in holes in trees, rocks, roots or in the ground.

The nest is a cup of moss lined with hair and wool. The female lays 7-11 eggs. This birds eggs are white with pink spots.

The incubation is 14-16 days. When they hatch, both parents tend to the chicks, and they fledge after about 18-20 days.

Coal tits typically have one, but occasionally two, broods a year.


Misc. Info


When food is easily to be had the coal tits hoard the food - hiding it all over the place for hard times.

Unfortunately, the Coal Tit's memory is not as great as it would like and it often forgets where its store is.


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