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Long-tailed tit

Aegithalos caudatus

Photo by Chris Romeiks (Vogelart)

Common name:
long-tailed tit (en); chapim-rabilongo (pt); mésange à longue queue (fr); mito común (es); schwanzmeise (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Aegithalidae

The long-tailed tit is found across most of Europe and, through Turkey and the Ukraine, into the Caucasus and northern Iran, and along the middle latitudes of central Asia through southern Russia, northern Kazakhstan and northern Mongolia into north-eastern and central China, Korea and Japan.

These birds are 13-16 cm long, including a 6-10 cm long tail. They have a wingspan of 16-19 cm and weigh 7-10 g.

The long-tailed tit is mostly found in temperate, deciduous and mixed forests, but also uses a range of other habitats such as boreal forests, scrublands, marshes and bogs, pastures, arable land, rural gardens and even urban areas.

They are mainly insectivorous, taking the eggs and larvae of butterflies and moths but also other small insects that are gleaned from the foliage. During autumn and winter they also take seeds and other vegetable matter.

Long-tailed tits breed in February-June. They are monogamous and nest in an elaborate sphere made of moss, hair, lichens, spider webs and feathers, placed in a fork in a tree or scrub 1,5-15 m above the ground. The female lays 7-12 whitish eggs with reddish-brown spots, which she incubates alone for 12-21 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and often helpers, fledging 14-19 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 30,6-144 million individuals. The population is suspected to be fluctuating owing to the effects of severe winters and recorded range expansions and regional declines in recent decades. Data from 21 European countries shows a moderate decline over the last 3 decades.

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