British Garden Birds Site Map Album Info Quiz Shop Links About Visit us on facebook Visit us on twitter

Long-tailed Tit

Long-tailed Tit
Both sexes: Black and pink with white crown and long black tail.

The Long-tailed Tit is an adorable, small, fluffy pinkish bird.

The shoulders and underparts are pinkish. The head has a white crown with black marks above the eyes and into the nape. They have red eye rings and a very small black bill. The black and white tail is very long, over half the length of the bird and the longest tail of any British bird in proportion to its body. The legs are black-brown.

Juveniles lack pink and have grey-black cheeks.

Long-tailed tits are not really members of the Tit family but of the Aegithalidae family.

Long-tailed Tit
Long-tailed Tit
Long-tailed Tit
Long-tailed Tit
Long-tailed Tit
Long-tailed Tit

Scientific Name Aegithalos caudatus
Length 15 cm  (6")
Wing Span 17-19 cm  (7-8")
Weight 7-9 g  (¼ oz)
Breeding Pairs 210000
Present All Year
Status Green

Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.


Long-tailed tits have a twittering, trilling song, but it is their high-pitched twittering contact calls that will usually get them noticed; typically "tsee-tsee-tsee" but also "tsirrup".


© Jean Roché,

© Jean Roché,


They feed mostly on insects and their larvae, and spiders, but also on berries.

Increasingly, Long-tailed Tits are feeding from peanut feeders and suet cake in gardens.


The Long-tailed Tit's nest is an elastic ball of moss, spiders' webs, lichen, feathers, and hair that is built by both birds in a bush, hedge or tree; brambles and gorse are favourite places. The nest may take up to 3 weeks to build and be lined with more than 2000 feathers.

The female lays and incubates smooth and glossy eggs that are white with purplish-red spots, and are about 14 mm by 10 mm. Both adults feed the newly-hatched young, and are often assisted by other birds, especially males, that have failed to breed that season.

Breeding Starts Clutches Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
early April 1-2 5-16 12-14 14-18


Long-tailed Tits are resident and mostly sedentary throughout the UK. Some move short distances from their nesting sites, especially in the winter when families join roaming flocks of up to typically 20 birds, often including other species of Tits, in search of food within a winter feeding territory.


Long-tailed Tits seem to be doing well, possibly because of milder winters but also increased use of gardens.

In harsh winters, mortality can be high among these small birds, but they usually recover quickly. In the winter, flocks will huddle together to conserve body heat, sometimes using nest boxes or roosting pockets.