Great tit

©Bob Coyle

Great Tit

Scientific name: Parus major
A familiar garden bird, the great tit can be seen around bird tables and feeders, as well as in woodlands and parks. Listen out for its shrill song that sounds just like a bicycle pump being used!

Species information


Length: 14cm
Wingspan: 24cm
Weight: 18g
Average lifespan: 3 years

Conservation status

Common. Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015).

When to see

January to December


The largest of the UK's tits, the great tit is a bird of woodland, parks and gardens. It nests in holes in trees, but is just as happy to use nestboxes. Great tits are active feeders, hunting out insects and spiders among the smaller branches and leaves of trees in woodlands. But they are also well-adapted to gardens and towns and will visit birdtables, fighting off other, smaller tits to get to the food. Great Tits have a distinctive song: listen out for a high-pitched sound like a bicycle pump, or a 'teacher teacher' call.

How to identify

The great tit is a familiar garden bird with a black head, white cheeks, green back, yellow belly and black stripe down its breast.



Did you know?

Male great tits have a broad black stripe on the belly, whereas females have a much thinner black stripe. The stripe on the male is an indicator of status and whether the male will be a good choice as a father. The wider the stripe, the more attractive the male is to females.

How people can help

Whether you live in town or country, you can help to look after garden birds by providing food and water for them. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit the wildlife gardening section of the website, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started. To buy bird food, feeders and other wildlife products, visit the Vine House Farm website ( - an award-winning wildlife-friendly farm that gives 4% of every sale plus £10 commission for each new customer to The Wildlife Trusts.