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Family : Parides
The tits are mostly passerines of the Paridae family. They are small, active birds with a short bill and a rather squat shape. They are arboreal, insectivorous and granivorous. The male and the female are similar ; young people look like adults. They nest in tree holes, but often use nest boxes in gardens. They are very sociable and frequent the feeders in winter.
The mode of social organization of the tits varies according to the periods of the year. Insectivorous in the spring and more solitary, they devour their weight in insects and caterpillars every day, but after the reproduction, in autumn and winter, they gather in bands, rounds which undertake more or less extensive trips in search of food sites. During the bad season, these bands consist of a few members with several dozens of birds. At the end of the winter, the bands break up. Driven by the instinct of reproduction, the tits recover their individualistic character. The males seek a territory, which they will defend bitterly against their fellow creatures. Females, on the other hand, go in search of a partner to mate.
The breeding season begins with the selection of males according to criteria relating to nuptial song or courtship behavior. The choice of the nesting site being stopped, the female arranges the nest, sometimes alone, sometimes assisted by the male, according to the species, by lining it with small roots, stems and twigs, then with a thick foam mattress and, finally, a layer of hair, horsehair or wool, possibly feathers.
The different species of European tits :
- Azure Tit (Cyanistes cyanus, formerly Parus cyanus)
- Eurasian Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus, formerly Parus caeruleus)
- Willow Tit (Poecile montanus or Poecile montana, formerly Parus montanus)
- Great Tit (Parus major)
- European Crested Tit (Lophophanes cristatus, formerly Parus cristatus)
- Grey-headed Chickadee (Poecile cinctus, formerly Parus cinctus)
- Sombre Tit (Poecile lugubris, formerly Parus lugubris)
- Coal Tit (Periparus ater, formerly Parus ater)
- Marsh Tit (Poecile palustris, formerly Parus palustris)
- Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus), belonging to the family of Aegithalidae