Blue Tit: Everything you should know about these birds.

The blue tit whose scientific name is Cyanistes caeruleus belongs to the family of the so-called paridae and is of the order of passerines, it can be easily distinguished by its diverse and striking colors that it has in its plumage such as blue, yellow, black and white, it is a bird of small size but with great qualities.

When it is said that they belong to the paridae family, it is because they are generally distributed in the countries of Europe, Asia, Africa and North America. Likewise, the passerine order is part of the group of birds that are vertebrates and are part of the vast majority of existing birds in the world, even this order as it is the passerines passes in significant quantities to the order of mammals which means that this order is quite important and numerous.

The birds that belong to this order, as is the case of the blue tit, have several particular characteristics, one of them is their size, they are generally small birds, they sing and have in their muscles a system that controls the syrinx that works as a resonator box when they sing. As for feathers, most passerines have 9 to 10 primary feathers on their wings and about 12 on their tails.

The blue tit is part of this order and does not escape from the general characteristic that each one of them have in terms of the legs and shape of the fingers, we can notice that they have only four fingers which three of them are directed forward and only one backward, they are not united, although there is the probability of getting a species of this order that has them united only by the base. The advantage of the position of the fingers is that it allows them to move more easily and agilely and to hold on to tree branches much better. Here is a video of a blue tit.

Description

It is a small bird a little more than the common coal tit, it is restless and it can be said that it is a type of acrobat bird because with its legs it makes endless movements among the branches and in search of its food. It uses its short but strong beak to extract food from almost anywhere.

The blue tit has a diversity of colors that make it unique, special and also identify it in any place where it is, among these colors we can observe in its plumage blue, yellow, black and white. Its rounded and large head makes it look as if it started from the shoulders. Something that is very particular in this species is a kind of mask that forms on its face and gives it that different appearance.

In its lower parts highlights a yellow color which is completely perfect in this range of colors that presents this species in its plumage, in its upper parts has a blue color that ends up highlighting all this beautiful combination. The legs of the blue tit are short but very skillful and are of a blue color, its tail is long and its feathers are also blue. This bird’s predominant blue color is much more intense in the wing and tail feathers.

There are times, especially during the breeding season, when you can observe that the blue tit has a blackish gray color around its beak because the beak of this bird, as mentioned above, is very short and it takes food from everywhere under the rocks, between the walls, under the bark of the trees and this causes the area of the bird to become dirty.

This bird moults its plumage completely in the month of August and October, this makes the colors are much more accentuated and draws much more attention especially the blue, in females the colors are the same but do not have the same intensity in it are usually quite dull and the lines that have less marked.As for the primary and secondary feathers there is a greenish tone that stands out on the blue and is not bright enough as in the male.

Characteristics

It is considered one of the most colorful birds in Europe, we can observe it frequenting parks, it is a very popular bird, very active and it is a small bird but not more than the hummingbird, the blue tit measures about 11.5 centimeters approximately taking into account the beak and the tail. It has a large, rounded head and looks as if it starts from the shoulders.

It is characterized by a bright blue color in its plumage that has especially in the wings and tail, has a kind of mask on the face that starts at the base of its beak and passes over the eyes. In the nape of the neck a kind of wide collar of the same bluish color can be observed, in the forehead a white color can be observed, in the back a yellowish green color, there are blue tits that can have a whitish tone in all the center of the chest and belly and in general they always have a bluish black line that begins in the low chest of the bird.

The wings and tail are also blue but much more intense generally in coverts and primary feathers. It has a kind of cap that is also predominantly blue in these birds. The blue tit tends to molt its plumage between the months of August and October this makes the colors especially the blue that predominates become much more intense.

The opposite happens with the females whose plumage is much duller than the males despite having the same colors in the plumage, usually the secondary and primary feathers have a greenish tone and do not look bright and bluish as in the case of the male or the young. The beak of the blue tit is small but very strong and has bluish-gray lines at its ends, the tarsi are blue and the toes are also blue, the iris of the eyes is dark brown.

When it comes to the young blue tits, they have a yellow or white stripe that usually starts in the forehead and ends in the pileus, the cheeks of a yellow color as well as the feathers of their lower parts, the wings and back have a greenish tone in them, the bright blue that the adults already have is not noticeable, although when we extend the wings we can notice a little bit of it.

It is a bird that moves constantly, it is attracted by the holes that exist in the buildings, from which it enters and leaves continuously. Usually they join in flocks and look for food such as mealybugs formed by the humidity under the trunks as well as spider larvae etc. and when they make these meetings to look for food you can always hear their constant screeching. Generally with the arrival of autumn the blue tit is usually in family groups or only couples in the countryside is more sedentary, but however when the cold arrives they begin to arrive from other places such as those living in forests or European countries, these can reach thousands.

The blue tit despite being a small bird like the benteveo is strong and also aggressive, they are super skilled with their short and small beak that deftly use it to get food almost anywhere they want, another feature of these birds is that they have quite sturdy legs and fingernails very well sharpened, this allows them to make any maneuver even being upside down and consume food in the same way they would be in their normal position.

These birds usually perch on the trunks of trees, their flights are usually short but when they make long flights the undulations are well marked while exercising, they also usually perch on the ground and walk but in the form of short jumps and are always stirring the dry fallen daughters of the trees always in search of any insect, larva, spider or something else that consumes can feed them.

When night falls the blue tit seeks to hide and always does so in the crevices of trees, holes or cracks that are made in the walls, as for his song is very varied are loud sounds, it is a song that begins as a fast and sharp trill that always holds about two or three notes always in prolongation with a long and fast hissing sound something like this tsi-tsi-tsi …. tsi-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi this followed by a high pitched tsi-tsi-tsi-tsi-tsissip and followed by still another much shorter note and it sounds something like this tsi-tsi-uit, tsi-tsi-tsi-uit, They are high pitched so much so that they can be heard a few meters away, among them when they exercise short flights from branch to branch or from one tree to another they use this note to call each other tsi-tsi-tsi which they do repetitively.

There is a bird that is very similar to the blue tit and it is the canary tit whose scientific name.

scientific is Cyanistes teneriffae and also belongs to the family paridae, is a bird that measures about 11 centimeters approximately its weight ranges between 12 grams, there is no sexual dimorphism between male and female, when talking about the colors in its plumage we can say that it has a dark blue color on top and on the back you can see a grayish tone.

In the lower part they have an intense yellow color and have a vertical line of black color that usually covers the chest, the pileus has a blackish blue color, when they are in the breeding season the colors of their plumage take up even more intensity. The face is white and in it you can see a long facial strip that is black which begins at the base of the bird’s beak through the eyes and ending at the neck.

Like the blue tit, it has a kind of collar around its neck, its beak is small but strong and black and its eyes are dark brown. Below is a video of the sounds of the blue tit.

Reproduction

The blue tit is a monogamous bird which means that it chooses a mate and stays with her all its life, but according to studies there is a certain degree of polygamy in this species, this will depend on the amount of food and the adequate spaces for the reproduction of this bird, the more and better the male will be able to mate with more than one female.

The male to attract the female begins with a courtship as does the bellbird, the blue tit flies with wings spread wide, then perch on any tree branch that is close to the female they are courting bristle their pileus to form a kind of crest and at the same time they half open their wings and leave them hanging in the same way that exert a very intense vibration. This courtship recreates the sight to those who have the opportunity to observe it.

After the courtship comes the longed-for mating to proceed to the construction of the nest, which is always in charge of the female, who uses different types of materials and in sufficient quantities, she uses moss, wool, dry grass and feathers, the idea is that the hole or entrance to the nest is semi-occupied. Usually when they build these nests they do it against a corner so that when the female lays the eggs they are hidden under the materials used for the construction of the nest.

These eggs will be hidden until the female incubates them, the places chosen by the blue tit for the construction of nests are holes in trees or walls, cracks in walls, nests of common airplanes, etc. Egg-laying time arrives and the female lays 12, 13 and up to 15 eggs. If more than 15 eggs are found in a nest, it is because two female blue tits are laying in the same nest. The eggs are white with reddish or brownish mottling.

The incubation process is carried out by the female, and begins even when the female has not finished laying her eggs. She hides them in such a way that it is difficult for humans to handle this type of nest, only the female blue tit knows exactly where her eggs are, which she herself has hidden among the feathers and materials she used for the construction of the nest. This process lasts from 13 to 16 days, which is the time necessary for the hatching of the eggs. When the chicks hatch, they have a very short grayish down on their heads.

On the inside of their mouth they have a reddish orange color and there are no dark spots on their tongue. The feeding and raising of the chicks is in charge of the parents for a period of time between 16 and 22 days.
24 days, but this will depend on the climatic changes in the area. When there are rainy days, the growth of the chicks is much later because there is much less food than on sunny days.

It is possible for the female to lay again in the same season and the months that are generally breeding months for these birds are between April and May. The blue tit makes great use of artificial nest boxes placed by humans, which is how this bird has been able to reproduce on a larger scale.

There is sexual dimorphism in this species of bird but very easy to differentiate as we already know the colors in the male are much more vivid than in the female but they are also very similar but specifically the pileus is much darker in the male and the band that surrounds the neck in the form of a circle of bluish black color is much wider in the male than in the female. These are the basic characteristics by which you can tell the difference between male and female blue tits. Then watch this video of a blue tit building a nest

Sub-species of the Blue Tit

The following subspecies are recognized as part of this important species as the blue tit, the following are the names of these important birds.

  • C. c. balearicus
  • C. c. caeruleus,
  • C. c. calamensis
  • C. c. obscurus
  • C. c. ogilastrae
  • C. c. orientalis
  • C. c. persicus
  • C. c. raddei
  • C. c. satunini

Food

The diet of the blue tit is very varied, usually in the spring they eat a lot of insects and to raise their chicks they look for a lot of green caterpillars. When they are in autumn and winter, they take advantage of the larvae and insects of the bark and also in many occasions

of lichens. It always flies from branch to branch among the trees and uses its short but strong beak to peck at the leaves from behind where numerous aphids are always concentrated.

It takes advantage of the high humidity to remove the accumulated mealybugs and earwigs from under the bark of the trees. Most of the caterpillars consumed are small, but this does not mean that they are less harmful. To feed a brood of about seven chicks will require large quantities of larvae, so the parents will work much harder in this regard to keep the brood of chicks well fed and content.

Centipedes and spiders are also incorporated into the diet of the blue tit and to complement this it also eats fruits such as apples and very ripe pears as well as buds and many shoots and buds of trees. In addition, it also eats different types of seeds, usually oilseeds or coconut bark. Blue tits that live in coniferous forests usually ingest the seeds produced in these trees using their small but strong beak to eat these seeds with ease. Watch this video of a blue tit eating.

Habitat and distribution

The blue tit is a bird that we see with greater reproduction in the country of Europe except in the north of the city of Scandinavia and in the city of Iceland, generally it is distributed everywhere and the installation of artificial nests, feeders and drinkers that are well located in private gardens and public parks are those that help the blue tit to support the inclement passage of the winter.

The birds that live further north are characterized as migratory birds and always seek to reach Germany, especially in October, as well as the countries of Belgium, France and Spain.Before this the younger birds gather in numerous flocks, which is natural for this species and these movements can be seen in the coastal area of northwestern western Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium and usually occur between mid-August and early winter.

For the Iberian Peninsula the blue tit is very abundant, it prefers areas such as borders and clearings to carry out its reproduction, sometimes for lack of sites where to establish their nests migrates leaving the areas where it was a very abundant bird. It is also found in Iberia where it is considered a sedentary bird so it can remain in this site with its mate all its life even if it is a narrow valley.

The habitat of the blue tit is usually found in mixed forests, riparian and forest areas that are clear, it is common to see it in the gardens of our house or get it in the parks of our city, all this where this bird feels comfortable and get enough food and nesting sites. In the country of Spain there is an estimate that there is a large population of about 93000 million pairs of blue tits. Enjoy the video below.

Threats to the blue tit

The threats to the Blue Tit in many cases are almost the same that affect most species of the passerine family, it is generally very affected by the massive construction of buildings and the little space and wooded areas for the construction of nests and habitat, the shortage of holes due to deforestation, logging and burning seriously affect this situation every day more and more.

The use of insecticides by humans against forest pests significantly affects the life of the blue tit, affecting its health, often consuming contaminated insects, which also causes its death. The nest boxes that were implemented to increase the reproduction of this and several other species, if they are well managed, will give the right results because otherwise it will be an easier way for predators to access the eggs and chicks of the blue tit.

Among the most common predators of this species we can find the snakes that easily climb trees silently and reach the nest eating what they get inside. Another enemy are the cats that by nature are good climbers and it is not difficult for them to access this prey. They can even eat adult birds because of their speed and agility they become easy prey.

The blue tit is considered a bird of special interest in the national catalog of endangered species. It is therefore of concern and interest to take more into consideration the conservation and preservation of flora and fauna that are an instrument of life and health for all human beings.

Curiosities of the blue tit

  • The blue tit is very similar to the blue tit but they are different because the latter has a light blue pileus and the blue tit has a blackish blue pileus and the lower part is yellow but much less intense than that of the blue tit.
  • The blue tit is related to the great tit in song even if it is not as sharp.
  • They are also related in the incubation of eggs, many times they end up raising eggs from the great tit or vice versa.
  • Many times the blue tits have more than one pair this depends on the food that exists in the place and the time of the year.
  • The blue tit is a bird that is considered sedentary and very reproductive.
  • If they find a suitable habitat the population of this bird will grow abundantly.
  • Blue Tit prefers wetlands.Blue Tit and Great Tit.