Belongs to: tits

Compare with: great tit

Coal tit Parus ater

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Smallest of our native tits, often seen in gardens

Habitat: most often conifer woods, but also other types of wood, parks and gardens

Widespread resident


Glossy black head with white patch on nape, grey back; 10–11 cm

Often seen in gardens but shyer than great and blue tits; join foraging parties of tits and other woodland birds in winter

Feeds on insects, spiders and weed seeds, sometimes nuts


Nest is a pad of hair and feathers on moss in a hole in a tree or bank

2 broods April to May; 6–10 white eggs, speckled reddish

Immigrants from the continent arrive some years

© Gerald Downey