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Blue Tits in Ireland

Blue Tit

The Blue Tit is one of Ireland's top-twenty most widespread garden birds. Blue Tits have a colourful mix of blue, yellow, white and green feathers making it one of most attractive and most recognisable Irish garden visitors. During the winter family flocks join up with other tits as they forage for food.

Blue tit beaks are black and their legs are a blue-grey. Males and females are similar, though the female is somewhat paler. The juveniles are duller than the adults and have greener crown, wings and tail, and yellow cheeks.

Irish Name for Blue Tit

The Irish word for Blue Tit is Meantán gorm.

Blue Tit Feeding

Blue Tits mainly feed on small insects but also eat seeds, particularly in the winter time. They are regular visitors to bird tables in urban gardens and will readily use a peanut feeder. Blue tits are no averse to feeding on domestic scraps.

They are very acrobatic, often hangs upside-down on branches while pecking at buds or foraging for insects.

Blue Tits feed their young with moth caterpillars and are prepared to travel some distance to collect the right food for their family.

Generally speaking, broad-leaved trees carry better insect crops than conifers, and native trees are better than exotics, although there are exceptions. Oak trees are a favourite for foraging Blue Tit parents.

Blue Tits Nesting

Blue Tit nest with egg

Blue Tits breed throughout Ireland. The female selects her mate and the nest site. In the three weeks before egg-laying begins the hen increases her weight by at least half. As the nest takes shape, the female forms the deep cup by wriggling and turning around in it, while she continues to build up the sides. As egg laying commences, she produces almost her own weight in eggs - laying one egg per day for 10 days approximately.

Incubation commences once the last egg has been laid. Generally blue tits have only one clutch but in times of food-abundance and good weather a second brood may occur. Hatching is set to coincide with the appearance of caterpillars of a particular insect species upon which they depend.

The eggs take about 14 days to hatch. After hatching, the adults will make around 400 daily visits between them for the first few days. This number will rise to 1,000 or more visits per day prior to the young leaving the nest. Due to the large numbers of caterpillars that they take, Blue Tits are extremely effective pest controllers in the garden.

Once the chicks leave the relative safety of the nest there may be up to a 90% mortality rate. The young Blue Tits fledge at about 20 days and their main predators are sparrowhawks, magpies and especially cats - both domestic and feral.

Interesting Facts About Blue Tits

Blue Tits appear to have benefited from the smoking ban introduced several years ago. Some pubs have erected wall mounted ash trays for their smoking customers and Blue Tits have discovered these. Many pubs have had to ask their customers not to stub out their cigarettes in these ashtrays because families of Blue Tits have settled into these man-made nest holes!.

Blue Tit

Scientific Name:
Cyanistes caeruleus

Order:
Passeriformes

Family:
Paridae

Irish Status:
Resident

Length: 12cm Wingspan: 18cm Weight: M & F: 11g

Call: Tsee-tsee-tsu-hu-hu-hu-hu. Makes a churning sound when alarmed.

Habitat: Woodland, scrub, urban areas.

Diet: Insect and spiders, also fruit and seeds in winter.

Nesting:
April to May
Breeding Age:
From 1 year
Number of Eggs:
8-10
No. of Clutches:
1 or 2
Incubation (days):
13-15
Fledging (days):
18-21
Lifespan:
3 years

Conservation Status in Ireland: Green

Blue Tit Range in Ireland

The song thrush is resident throughout Ireland.

Map of the range of Blue Tites in Ireland.

Arctic Terns in Ireland - Blue Tits in Ireland - Coal Tits in Ireland - Goldfinches in Ireland - Great Tits in Ireland - Grey Herons in Ireland - Jackdaws in Ireland - Longtailed Tits in Ireland - Magpies in Ireland - Mallards in Ireland - Mistle Thrushes in Ireland - Mute Swans in Ireland - Pheasants in Ireland - Puffins in Ireland - Robins in Ireland - Rooks in Ireland - Song Thrushes in Ireland - Starlings in Ireland - Swallows in Ireland - Swans in Tallaght - Swans Oil-Damaged - Waxwings in Ireland - Woodpigeons in Ireland - Wrens in Ireland

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