Twite - Hebridean Birds
Western Isles Birds - Twite - Hebridean Birds - Western Isles Birds.

Twite - lovely small finch like birds. These birds found all over The Western Isles and Northern Scotland - elsewhere in Southern England and Ireland were in severe decline.

They are unusual in that they feed their young on seeds.

The twite is a small, brown bird, similar in size to a linnet - especially as it has the same white panels in its tail.
        Twite  - Photo Gallery
Twite -  Western Isles
Photo Gallery  - Twite  Images
Bird Overview - Twite
Family
Finches
Latin name
Anthus pratensis

 Population
Common but localised


Similar Species
Redpoll
Linnet
Meadow Pipit
Description

The twite is a small, brown bird, similar in size to a linnet - especially as it has the same white panels in its tail.

The twite has a longer tail and stubbier bill. Its back is tawny, heavily streaked with dark brown, its flanks have dark-brown streaks and its belly is white. In breeding plumage the male's rump is pink.



In winter the Twite is easily recognised as it has a bright, pale, yellowish bill which stands out against its dark head In summer the Twite's bill is darker, the Twite is generally darker and drabber than a Linnet with a neater pale bar across the wing and a plainer, buff face and throat with hardly any evidence of dark and light moustache lines.

Summer is also the time when the pink rump of the male Twite is most obvious

It forms large flocks in winter when it spends most of the time feeding on the ground.


Size
12.5 - 14cm (5-5 1/2 ins)
Habitat
This lovely bird breeds on the moorland and areas near the sea that are stony. In winter some of the twites stay in N and W Scotland and here in The Western Isles - , near the coast. Others, including Continental birds, move to the coast of eastern England where you can see them on salt marshes and coastal fields.

Food
These finches eat seeds. Although these birds share characteristics with redpoll - they are ground feeders and not treetop feeders like the redpoll. Its is unusual that these birds feed their young on seeds too!
Voice
The flight call is a nasal, twang rising twa-eeet. A song with buzzing notes and trills all mixed together.

Breeding
The twite is a bird that builds its nest close to the ground. These birds can sometimes raise two broods during a season. They have deep cups of twigs, grass and moss, lined with hair in a bush or a bank. There are 4-6 eggs between May and June.

Misc. Info
These birds have a 2 - 3 year lifespan. In some areas - Ireland particularly, these birds are quite rare. Also in Southern parts of England where their preferred habitats - the birds normally nest in long heather and bracken, on the top of north-facing sea cliffs
.
The twite is one of only two British songbirds that have a diet consisting entirely of seeds, even as chicks, and this has been a major factor in its demise. As hay meadows, and traditional lightly grazed pastures have largely disappeared, so too has the supply of late summer seeds on which the twite depends.
Female Chaffinch- Western Isles
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