RSPB Scotland's Allie McGregor shares 5 facts to know about cute coal tits!

5 facts to know about coal tits

Coal tits are the smallest of the British tits. From tip to tail they’re about 10 or 11cm and they weigh little more than a 50p coin.

They have a distinct white patch down the back of their neck. Coal tits are quite similar in appearance to other tits, especially marsh and willow tits. Coal tits are much more widespread than these other two species, especially in Scotland, but one key feature that can be used to identify them is their distinctive white patch on the back of their neck. Other features of coal tits include pale orange-brown underparts, a black cap, and grey or slightly olive toned mantle and back.

coal tit perched on a branch

They have a hidden crest. When a coal tit is agitated their black feathers on the back of the head might be raised in a small spike.

Coal tits love coniferous woodland. Their bills, being more slender than blue or great tits, are just right for eating insects amongst the pine needles. They might also be found in parks or gardens if there are conifers there. They are seen in gardens more in the winter when other sources of food become more scarce.

coal tit on a bird feed table

They are well-adapted to find food both in woodlands amongst the trees and in gardens at feeders and bird tables. Coal tits are often known to carry food away to store elsewhere – other tits share this behaviour but it is more noticeable in coal tits. One of their behaviours that might help them survive over winter is their hoarding of food.

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