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Great tit (Parus major)

The great tit has a fairly raucous, metallic call – sounds like 'seesaw' or 'teacher-teacher'.

Common name: great tit

Scientific name: Parus major

Family: Paridae (tits)

Appearance

Largest of the tits, averaging 14cm long

Similar colouring to the blue tit, but with a black 'cap' and breast band

Where to spot

Deciduous and mixed woodland, hedges, gardens and parks. A resident bird so it may be seen throughout the year.

Feeding

Feeding mostly on insects in the summer, they eat a wider range of foods in the winter

Breeding

Breeds between March and May most years it produces two broods. They nest in cavities, usually a hole in a tree. The female lays around twelve eggs and incubates them herself, although both parents raise the chicks. Their nests are prone to raids by woodpeckers, squirrels and weasels

Facts

  • Adult birds are sometimes hunted by sparrowhawks
  • In winter they flock together with other tits and roam the countryside looking for food
  • Great tits are a common woodland bird throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central and Northern Asia and parts of North Africa

Join Nature’s Calendar

Help us track the effects of weather and climate change on wildlife and tell us when you see great tits first building their nests and then again when they are first feeding their young. Let us know what's happening near you and see your sightings on the map.

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