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.