The Long tailed tit (Aegithalos caudatus) is not really a tit. They belong to a separate family – Aegithalidae.
These tiny birds are easily recognisable by their long tail ( longer than its body) and ball like body on which its head is barely distinct.
The beak is really tiny and on occasion, I`ve had to look close to check if it actually had one!
In these pictures you can see that it has something in between its beak. I initially thought it could be food. Since there were two of them, I thought it could be a pair gathering food for its young.
However, its way too early for it to be breeding and the birds seemed to be hopping about within the bushes and collecting more of the sawdust looking powder. I think it could possibly be material that they are collecting to build a nest.
The long tailed tit’s nest is a complex affair built out of an assortment of material varying from spider web to lichens and human hair.
The nest is generally built in bushes, or trees and takes up to 3 weeks to complete. When finished, it contains an average of 1500 –200 feathers apart from all the other material and is dome shaped.
When complete the female lays eggs which are white with purplish-red spots, and are about 14 mm by 10 mm. The eggs are incubated by the female.
An interesting fact about these birds is that when the young hatch, additional birds help to feed and rear them. These are mostly failed breeders and it is thought that they may be related to the breeding pair.
This relationship between the family is also maintained later on and all the birds in a flock are thought to belong to a single family.
The flock stays together in tight noisy groups with their constant repeated “Tsurp” calls.
If one member gets separated, the others will go back to “rescue” it a fact that is employed by birders to attract a flock.
Such a cute bird.