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Bird Of The Month - Penduline Tit

Bird Of The Month - Penduline Tit  - Find out more about spotting and photographing the penduline tit.

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Animals / Wildlife


penduline tit

Inexperienced bird-watchers can easily confuse the penduline tit with the male red-backed shrike unless they have the opportunity to see their nest because it is unique in many aspects.

 

Appearance

The penduline tit is one of the smallest birds. Thanks to its size (10-12 centimetres), it can easily hide. Its body is brownish grey with a large rusty brown back. What are particularly striking are its light grey head and its wide, dark eye-mask. However, this particularity is specific to adult birds. The chicks have a completely bright face, without the black headband.

The other features of the species are a dark, short, sharp beak, and a darkening gradient colour towards the tail. As said before, the Red-backed shrike and the Penduline tit look very similar although they don’t belong to the same family.

 

Distribution

The species is widely distributed in large parts of Europe. The distribution zone extends all the way to China, but not equally. For example, they brood sparsely in France, but not in Great Britain. The penduline tit stays preferably in the semi-wetlands and marshy areas. Stagnant or running water? With reeds, trees and scattered bushes? Perfect! It also likes to land near old nettle bushes.

 

Photographing tips

The name penduline tit comes from the particular construction of its nest. Built on the branches of trees hanging over water, usually willows or birches, it is as unique as it is artistic. The males use wool seeds and vegetable fibres to build several bag-shaped nests that hang from the branches.

Then it gets serious! The females decide which nest is the best. As soon as the choice is made, the two partners finish the construction. Females then lay five to eight eggs that hatch after two weeks in those small nests hanging over water. Nests that have not been chosen can be used for other broods.

The penduline tits adapt their diet to their habitat. They feed on insects, spiders and seeds that they peck from tree bark or in bushes and reeds.

Like most birds that prefer to live in marshy areas, the penduline tit sees its breeding sites diminishing, threatened by them drying out and human constructions. Fortunately, more and more ecologists are working to preserve those sites, hoping to see the magnificent nest of the penduline tit hanging from trees for a long time.

 

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