About The Nesting Birds – The Blue Tit

Blue Tit

This little bird is properly the most well known and commonest bird in the UK, apart from a few areas in Scotland and the Orkney & Shetland islands.

The latin name for a Blue Tit is parus caeruleus. There are about 3.5 million breeding pairs in the UK, with anything up to 15 million coming to Britian for the winter.

Blue Tits are on the RSPB Green List, meaning there is no identified threat to the bird’s population.

They mostly feed on insects and especially caterpillars, of moths. Their diet changes through the year when other resources disappear, and others become available.

Blue Tits will nest in any hole in a tree, wall or nest box. They are also known to have built nests in the most odd places, like a cigarette bin or postbox.

Breeding starts in mid April with clutches of around 10-16 eggs. Incubation takes around 12-16 days and the young leave the nest within around 22 days of hatching.

Here are some facts about this little bird:

  • A Blue Tit weighs 9.5 to 12.5g (about the same weight as a English £1 coin!)
  • It has a life span of 4 to 5 years, but can live for as much as 21 years.
  • It has four toes, 3 face forward and 1 faces backwards.
  • The wingspan is 15 to 20cm.
  • The eggs are about 16mm X 12mm, smooth and white with reddish marks.
  • The female only incubates the eggs, whilst the male feeds her.
  • Being a small bird does, sadly, have it’s disadvantages. They are prey to Grey Squirrels, Woodpeckers & Sparrowhwaks.

During the colder months some Blue Tits may return to a nest box and use it as a roost for the night.

Photos © Ben Kirby