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Long-tailed Tit/Meantán earrfhada (Aegithalos caudatus) | by Mark Carmody
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Long-tailed Tit/Meantán earrfhada (Aegithalos caudatus)

Shorebirds of Ireland, Freshwater Birds of Ireland and The Birds of Ireland: A Field Guide with Jim Wilson.

The Long-tailed Tit, Aegithalos caudatus, is a very small passerine bird. It breeds in most of Europe and Asia. It is usually a non-migratory species, although there have been several extralimital records, and migration has been observed in north-eastern Europe.


The Long-tailed Tit is black and brown above and whitish below, with reddish flanks. It has a white crown. North European birds (A. c. caudatus) have completely white heads and flanks. There are several other subspecies which vary substantially in plumage (such as European birds have got black above eye and Turkish birds has got greyish "eyebrow" above eye and black thoat with grey scapulars). Hybridization between subspecies is common, and the hybridization zone between caudatus and europaeus seems to move in an easterly direction.


Long-tailed Tits are found in deciduous woodlands with significant undergrowth. This is a restless species, constantly on the move as it searches for insects and other small food items. During the autumn and winter, it is usually found in flocks of up to thirty individuals; it has been described as an avian sheep. During the breeding season (late February to July), Long-tailed Tits form monogamous pairs. (wikipedia)


These are always quite vocal and their presence is usually given away by their constant contact calls. Such a busy bird, always flitting through trees and the hedgerows but always a treat to see.

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Taken on December 23, 2017