Quick facts

Common name: blue tit

Scientific name: Cyanistes caeruleus

Family: Paridae (tits)

Habitat: woodland, gardens, hedges, parks

Diet: insects, spiders, caterpillars, fruit, seeds

Predators: sparrowhawks, weasels, owls

Origin: native

What do blue tits look like?

The blue tit is a delicate little bird, weighing in at around 11g – half the size of a robin. Often considered our most attractive garden bird, the blue tit is extremely colourful, with a bright blue cap, white face, black stripes across the eyes, bright yellow breast and blue, green and white wings.

Not to be confused with: the great tit, which is much larger in size and has an all-black cap.

blue tit in flight carrying insect

Credit: Stephen Dalton / naturepl.com

What do blue tits eat?

Caterpillars are a favourite for blue tits, but they also eat other insects, spiders, fruit and seeds. They are regular visitors to garden bird feeders, feasting on mixed bird seed, whole shelled peanuts, fat balls and sunflower hearts. Extremely acrobatic, they will often hang upside down from branches to access food. During the winter, blue tits join up with other tit species in search of food. 

Did you know?

Like all birds, blue tits can see ultra-violet light – the front of their head glows brightly under UV light, and this is how females are thought to choose their partners.

How do blue tits breed?

Blue tits start looking for a place to nest as early as January, usually beginning to build their nest by late March. They favour cosy cavities: rot holes and cracks in trees, old woodpecker nests, crevices in walls and nest boxes.

Once a nest site is located, blue tits will begin building a nest out of moss, hair, leaves, feathers and spider webs. Unlike many other birds, blue tits will usually only raise a single brood each spring. They lay around 7–14 eggs, and won’t begin incubating until all of the eggs have been laid.

The clutch is usually laid from late April to early May, and incubation takes round 15 days. The male will bring the female food during this period. Once hatched, the chicks spend approximately three weeks in the nest before fledging.

juvenile blue tits in nest with adult

Credit: Konrad Wothe / naturepl.com

Where do blue tits live?

Blue tits are found in deciduous and mixed woodland, hedges, gardens and parks across the UK. They are one of our most common birds, with an estimated population of around 3.4 million pairs.

Blue tit emerging from tree hole

Blog

When do blue tits nest?

Amy Lewis  •  12 Feb 2019

A sure sign of the start of spring is the sight of blue tits zipping back and forth to nest boxes, beaks full of moss. Find out when, where and how long blue tits nest, when their chicks fledge, and how important it is that they time things just right.

Read the blog
Did you know?

No other British tit has blue feathers.

Signs and spotting tips

The blue tit’s colourful feathers make this bird easy to spot. Look out for it perched on trees in woodland or foraging for a bite to eat on garden bird feeders, and listen for its high-pitched ‘tsee-tsee-tsee-chu-chu-chu’ song.

Blue tit song

Audio: David M / xeno-canto.org

blue tit with a caterpillar in its mouth

Credit: David Page / Alamy Stock Photo

Threats and conservation

The blue tit is a common, widespread species. Its population has grown by 21% since 1970. You can lend these birds a helping hand by placing bird feeders in your garden, particularly during the winter when food is scarce.