Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Great Tit (Parus major)

(14 cm.) head and throat black, white cheek, black band through breast.


The Great Tit is another widely-distributed bird species that is found throughout Europe and Asia. It is also a very common species throughout its range and is familiar to many people. The Great Tit was once considered a single species with several subspecies throughout its range, but recent scientific studies have suggested that the bird we see in Asia should be referred to as the “Japanese Tit” and that the birds found in Europe should be referred to as the “Cinerous Tit”. Ornithologists are still arguing about this new division of the species, so the name “Great Tit” will suffice for our purposes.

The scientific name of this species, “Parus major,” means “large tit,” and certainly this species is the largest member of its family. All tits, however, are small songbirds. They are all active omnivores that feed primarily on insects during the spring and summer months and seeds during the winter.

In Europe and North America tits are frequent visitors to feeding stations maintained by bird-lovers and are well-loved by all people for their tameness and willingness to trust humans. They often eat from the hands of people patient enough to earn their trust. Their high level of comfort with people has made them one of the best-studied group of birds in the world.

The Great Tit inhabits a large variety of habitats including deciduous and coniferous forests as well as “mixed woodland.” The bird can also be found in city parks and university campuses throughout much of China.

The Great Tit is a non-migratory bird that can remain in the same place during summer and winter by switching its diet from insects in summer to seeds in winter. Only in the event of food shortages in winter will the Great Tit undertake large food-searching migrations. Often, the Great Tit will join “mixed flocks” of other bird species such as finches and nuthatches to forage for food during harsh winter months.

Great Tits are early spring breeders that use tree cavities as nests. They will also readily use man-made boxes for nesting purposes making them good subjects for study. The female produces a large clutch of eggs, often up to 18 in number. The female alone will incubate the eggs and she will be fed by the male during her incubation duties. Young tit chicks are fed by both parents.


Great Tit (Photo by Luc Viatour-www.Lucnix.be)

No comments:

Post a Comment