Coal Tit

Irish Name: Meantán dubh
Scientific name: Parus ater
Bird Family: Tits
green
Conservation status

Status

Common resident throughout Ireland. One of Ireland's top 20 most widespread garden birds.

Identification

At first glance looks like a smaller, less colourful version of a Great Tit. Back, tail and wings are grey with a hint of green and two small white wingbars. Underside dirty white with a brownish wash. Most distinctive feature is the head pattern - pure white cheeks, black crown, bib and side of nape - the nape itself is a long white nape patch. Bill is small and pointed, legs bluish-grey. Prefers coniferous woodland, but can occur in other habitats including gardens. Has habit of prising peanuts from feeders and flying away to eat or cache them elsewhere. Usually in small numbers but can join other tits to form foraging flocks in winter.

Voice

Some phrases of the song similar to the Great Tit's "teacher, teacher…" but the quality of Coal Tit's song has been likened to the repetive whistle of a bicycle pump - a rapid "pitchew, pitchew, pitchew.." , with other variations. Usual call a clear "chew".

Diet

Insects, seeds and nuts. Will take peanuts and fat at bird tables.

Breeding

Breeds throughout Ireland mostly in coniferous woodland, but also in other woodland, farmland and gardens. Nests in cavity in tree or wall and will use nestboxes

Wintering

Widespread. Large flocks are occasionally seen at headlands along the south and west coast, but the reasons for these movements remain unclear.

Monitored by

Countryside Bird Survey & Garden Bird Survey.

Similar Species

Great Tit

Irish Name:
Meantán mór
Scientific name:
Parus major
Bird Family:
Tits

Blue Tit

Irish Name:
Meantán gorm
Scientific name:
Parus caeruleus
Bird Family:
Tits