Bird Watching (UK) - - Contents -

Your bird­ing ques­tions an­swered by our team of ex­perts

Q I took the at­tached picture in Au­gust. I’m new to bird­watch­ing; since be­ing in a pe­riod of con­va­les­cence thanks to some knee surgery I have be­come more and more in­ter­ested in the var­i­ous birds fre­quent­ing my gar­den. I’m con­fused about which of the tit fam­ily this fluffy bird be­longs to. Can you help? Phil Twig­ger

A We’re glad that your gar­den vis­i­tors have helped your re­cov­ery. This bird is, as you say, a mem­ber of the tit fam­ily, and we can see why you’re con­fused as to which par­tic­u­lar mem­ber. This is a prime ex­am­ple of a bird re­fus­ing to look ex­actly like its field guide picture, but there are clues. The big­gest clue here is the black head with white cheeks, which is telling us that this is a Great Tit or a Coal Tit. The bill looks too heavy for the lat­ter, sug­gest­ing Great Tit. Per­haps the manky plumage is caused by an in­fes­ta­tion of feather mites. Even the tail looks poorly de­vel­oped.

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