The Great Tit is large for a tit at 12.5-14.0 cm (4.9-5.5 in)long and has a distinctive appearance. The nominate race P. major major has a bluish-black crown, black neck, throat, bib and head, and white cheeks and ear coverts. The breast is bright lemon-yellow and there is a broad black mid-line stripe running from the bib to vent. There is a dull white spot on the neck turning to greenish yellow on the upper nape. The rest of the nape and back are green tinged with olive. The wing-coverts are green, the rest of the wing is bluish-grey with a white-wing-bar. The tail is bluish grey with white outer tips. The plumage of the female is similar to that of the male except that the colours are overall duller.
Habitat and Distribution
The Great Tit is found across all of Europe except for Iceland and northern Scandinavia, including numerous Mediterranean islands. In North Africa it is found in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. It also occurs across the Middle East, and parts of central Asia from northern Iran and Afghanistan to Mongolia, as well as across northern Asia from the Urals as far east as northern China and the Amur Valley. Its common habitat is open deciduous woodland, mixed forests and forest edges.
They are insectivorous in summer, feeding on insects and spiders caught by foliage gleaning. Bugs, ants, cockroaches, snails, grasshoppers and crickets, lacewings, earwigs, flies, beetles, bees and wasps, harvestmen, and woodlice are eaten.
Great Tits are seasonal breeders. Most breeding occurs between January and September. Great Tits are cavity nesters, breeding in a hole that is usually inside a tree. The nest inside the cavity is built by the female, and is made of plant fibres, grasses, moss, hair, wool and feathers. The number in the clutch is often very large, as many as 18, but five to twelve is more common. The eggs are white with red spots.
Calls and Songs
Soft single notes such as `pit`, `spick`, or `chit` are used as contact calls. A loud `tink` is used by adult males as an alarm or in territorial disputes. Another call `saw-sharpening` is considered as a foretelling of rain.