Distribution / Range:
It is a widespread and common species throughout Europe and Asia in any sort of woodland. It is resident, and most birds do not migrate. It will join winter tit flocks with other species.
It is an easy tit to recognise, large in size at 14 cm, with a broad black line (broader in the male) down its otherwise yellow front. The neck and head are black with white cheeks and ear coverts (feathers covering the ears). Upperparts are olive. It has a white wingbar and outer tail feathers. In young birds the black is replaced by brown, and the white by yellow.
There are many races of this widespread species, but they fall into three groups:
- Birds in temperate Europe and Asia are essentially green above and yellow below.
- Great Tits in China, Japan and southeastern Russia are green above and white or yellow-tinged white below, and
- birds in India and southeast Asia are grey above and whitish below.
Call / Vocalization:
It is, like other tits, a vocal bird, and has a large variety of calls, of which the most familiar is a "teacher, teacher", also likened to a squeaky wheelbarrow wheel. Interestingly, the birds from the two south Asian groups of races do not recognise the calls of the temperate Great Tits, and they may be a separate species.
Nesting / Breeding:
Any hole will do for a nest, and it will readily take to nest boxes. The number in the clutch is often very large, but seven or eight white eggs, spotted red, are normal, with bigger clutches being laid by two or even more hens. The bird is a close sitter, hissing when disturbed.
Diet / Feeding:
Like other tits, its food is insects, especially caterpillars when feeding young, and seeds. In England, Great Tits learned to break open the foil caps sealing bottles of milk that had been delivered to homes to get at the cream floating on top. This is a common and popular European garden bird, due to its acrobatic performances when feeding on nuts or seed.
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