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Coal Tit

Coal Tit
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Paridae
Genus: Periparus
Species: ater
Binomial name
Periparus ater
The Coal Tit, Periparus ater (formerly Parus ater)is a passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. It is a widespread and common resident breeder throughout Europe and northern Asia. It is resident, and most birds do not migrate.

A large white nape spot on the black head is the field mark of the Coal Tit; the head, throat and neck are glossy blue-black, setting off the white on the nape and sides of the face; the back and wings are olive-brown shading to brownish fawn on the rump; the white tips of the coverts show as a double bar on the wing. The under parts are white shading through buff to rufous on the flanks. The bill is black; the legs lead-coloured and irides dark brown. The young bird is duller, the black head having so sheen, and the whites on nape and cheeks are tinged with yellow.

The British race P.a. britannicus has an olive brown back, distinguishing it from the nominate continental race in which the back is bluish grey.

Coal Tits will form small flocks in winter with other tits. This species resembles other tits in acrobatic skill and restless activity, though it more frequently pitches on a trunk, and in little hops imitates the Treecreeper. Its food is similar to that of the others; it is keen on beechmast, picks out the seeds from larch and fir cones, and joins Redpolls[?] and Siskins[?] in birches and alders. During these food hunts it keeps up an incessant short flight or flock call; the song, if song it can be called, is a strident "if-he, if-he, iy-he", heard most frequently from January to June, but also in autumn. One variant of this song or call ends with a sharp "ichi".

A favourite nesting site is a ho1e in a rotting tree-stump, often low down, and the nest is deep within the hole; holes in the ground, burrows of mouse or rabbit, chinks between the stones in walls, old nests of Magpies or other large birds, and squirrel dreys are also occupied. The materials, moss, hair and grass, are closely felted together, and rabbit fur or feathers added for lining; seven to eleven red spotted white eggs of the usual tit type are laid, as a rule, in May, but second broods are rare.

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