Long-tailed Tit (aegithalos caudatus)

Long-tailed Tit

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] aegithalidae | [latin] aegithalos caudatus | [UK] Long-tailed Tit | [FR] Mesange a longue queue | [DE] Schwanzmeise | [ES] Satrecito de Cola Larga | [NL] Staartmees

Subspecies

Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Aegithalos caudatus EU widespread
Aegithalos caudatus alpinus
Aegithalos caudatus aremoricus
Aegithalos caudatus caudatus
Aegithalos caudatus europaeus
Aegithalos caudatus irbii
Aegithalos caudatus italiae
Aegithalos caudatus kiusiuensis
Aegithalos caudatus macedonicus
Aegithalos caudatus magnus
Aegithalos caudatus major
Aegithalos caudatus passekii
Aegithalos caudatus rosaceus
Aegithalos caudatus siculus
Aegithalos caudatus taiti
Aegithalos caudatus tauricus
Aegithalos caudatus tephronotus
Aegithalos caudatus trivirgatus

Physical charateristics

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.

Listen to the sound of Long-tailed Tit

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/L/Long-tailed Tit.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 17 cm wingspan max.: 19 cm
size min.: 14 cm size max.: 15 cm
incubation min.: 14 days incubation max.: 16 days
fledging min.: 14 days fledging max.: 16 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 7  
      eggs max.: 13  

Range

Eurasia : widespread

Habitat

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

Reproduction

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.

Feeding habits

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.

Conservation

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be fluctuating, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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.
Long-tailed Tit status Least Concern

Migration

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.

Distribution map

Long-tailed Tit distribution range map

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