Long-tailed Bushtit, Long-tailed Tit
Value of species
The long-tailed tit or long-tailed bushtit (Aegithalos caudatus) is a common bird found throughout Europe and Asia. The genus name Aegithalos was a term used by Aristotle for some European tits, including the long-tailed tit. The specific caudatus is Latin and is derived from cauda, "tail".
The long-tailed tit was first classified as a true tit of the Parus group. Parus has since been split from the Aegithalidae, with the latter becoming a distinct family containing three genera: Aegithalos (long-tailed tits), five species including A. caudatus; Psaltria (pygmy bushtit), monotypic; Psaltriparus (American bushtit), monotypic.
This is the only representative of the Aegithalidae in northern Eurasia. The long-tailed tit exhibits complex global variation with 19 races recognised.
The long-tailed tit is globally widespread throughout temperate northern Europe and Asia, into boreal Scandinavia and south into the Mediterranean zone. It inhabits deciduous and mixed woodland with a well-developed shrub layer, favouring edge habitats. It can also be found in scrub, heathland with scattered trees, bushes and hedges, in farmland and riverine woodland, parks and gardens. The bird's year-round diet of insects and social foraging bias habitat choice in winter towards deciduous woodland, typically of oak, ash and locally sycamore species. For nesting, strong preference is shown towards scrub areas. The nest is usually built in thorny bushes less than 3 metres above the ground.
The long-tailed tit is insectivorous throughout the year. It eats predominately arthropods, preferring the eggs and larvae of moths and butterflies. Occasional vegetable matter is taken in the autumn.