fbpx

The Great Tit: A Guide to Ireland’s Garden Birds

great tit on tree branch during the day

The Great Tit: A Guide to Ireland’s Garden Birds

The Great Tit is the largest of the tit family, and is one of Ireland’s most widespread and common birds. Known as the ‘Meantán Mór’ in Irish, it is a woodland bird which can often be found near man-made habitats and is a regular visitor to garden tables. Although they look charming, they are not fans of sharing the food table, and will fight off smaller tits trying to get their food!

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to spot a Great Tit in your garden, what to feed it, and how to take care of it.

What Does a Great Tit Look Like?

The Great Tit has a noticeable black head with big white patches on its cheeks. They have a bright yellow breast with a black band that runs downs its centre and its back and wings are coloured with yellow-green feathers.

The bold black stripe on its underparts distinguishes the male and female; the male’s stripe is broader, particularly on the belly, and the female’s does not extend as far as the legs.

When it flies away, the black tail with white outer tail feathers is visible.

Juvenile Great Tits are duller than the adult with more yellow tones. They don’t have the bold black stripe on the underparts.

great tit drinking water

What Do Great Tits Eat?

These cheerful birds are regular visitors to bird feeders and tables, and they are known to enjoy seeds, split grains, and some insects such as caterpillars. They are fond of peanuts and will happily use a peanut feeder, and take scraps from tables.

They tend to feed more from the ground than other tits. This is because one of their preferred natural foods in winter is the fallen seed crop of beech trees.

During the winter months, Great tits flock together with their Blue tit cousins to begin searching for food. This is a phenomenon called mixed-species foraging.

How To Feed Great Tits

Great tits regularly visit garden feeders, and particularly enjoy sunflower seeds, peanuts and fat. They’re quite assertive birds, and will readily fend off any other birds who get in the way of their feeding.

Much like their cousins, they don’t tend to hang around out in the open. They can often be seen grabbing a peanut or a sunflower seed, dashing off, where they hold the food between their feet to eat it.

Where Do Great Tits Nest?

Like its cousin the Coal Tit, the Great Tit will nest in cavities in a tree or wall but will also happily set up home in a nestbox in your garden. They don’t shy away from other human-made structures such as pipes, letter boxes, and air ducts.

They can lay up to 15 eggs, and both parents help to feed the chicks. The eggs measure 18mm by 14mm, and are smooth and glossy with white with purple-red spots. The incubation period takes up to 15 days, and the young will have fledged by 21 days.

What Do Great Tits Sound Like?

The most common song and most recognisable is the ‘tee-cher… tee-cher… tee-cher…’, it is repeated, along with a ” tew, tew tew.”

 

Any more questions?

Got any more questions about feeding your garden birds? Be sure to ask one of expert Pet Care Advisors at your local Petmania store today.

Shop Garden Bird Food

Share this post

You've just added this product to the basket: