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Marsh Tit

Despite its name, the Marsh Tit is not a bird of marshland but of mature broadleaf woodland, in particular oak, plus more rarely they also occur in gardens, parks and copses – provided there is plenty of relatively dense understory to mature trees. The species is very hard to identify against the almost identical Willow Tit, with both having a black cap (though the Marsh Tit’s is more glossy), white facial cheeks and pale brown underside of the body. The best way to tell them apart is by their very different calls, with the Marsh Tit’s a clean and clear ‘pitchou’ sound, and the Willow Tit’s a rather thin ‘zi-zurr-zurr-zurr’. The Marsh Tit has suffered a population crash in the UK and is now on the red list, though, locally, may still be a common sight in some gardens and will readily come onto feeders.

Marsh Tit nesting and breeding habits

The nest site is usually a hole in a tree, though this is often further excavated by the female bird. Nest boxes will also be taken if the habitat around them is suitable. The nest is a cup of moss, fine plant materials and lined with hair and feathers, and is built by the female who also incubates the eggs alone. There are normally between seven and nine eggs.

Marsh Tit diet and food

The primary food is small insects, though seeds are also eaten and especially in the winter months. Although Marsh Tits are not a common sight at garden feeding stations overall, locally they can be. Where this is the case, black sunflower seeds and sunflower hearts appear to be a favourite food.

Marsh Tit history and population trends

The population has seen a significant and constant decline over many decades, with this trend still continuing. One reason cited for the decline is the loss of suitable dense understory habitat in mature woodland, with this loss resulting from an increase in the number of browsing deer.

Behaviour traits of Marsh Tit s

Like the Coal Tit, Marsh Tits will cache seeds so they can be eaten when food is scarcer in harsh winter months. This behaviour (if you’re fortunate to be in an area where this rare bird occurs) can be seen in gardens if black sunflower seeds or sunflower hearts are put out, where a bird will repeatedly return to a feeder, take a seed each time, then cache them in different locations.

What sound does a Marsh Tit make?

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Video footage of Marsh Tit s

What should I feed Marsh Tit s?

We recommend the following products to not only attract more Marsh Tit s your garden, but also ensure you are meeting their optimal dietary requirements.

Latin name

Parus palustris

Habitat

The Marsh Tit requires fairly specific habitat, and the partial loss of this is almost certainly a key factor in its population decline. So the ideal habitat is mature broadleaf woodland – in particular oak – and with, in places, a rich and dense understo

Distribution Map and Info

Throughout England and Wales, though in greater numbers in southern and eastern England and south Wales. A few pairs nest in the south of Scotland.

Marsh Tit

UK Breeding population

Around 41,000 breeding pairs.