Marsh Tit (Parus or Poecile palustris)

Marsh Tit (Parus or Poecile palustris)

This is a small, mainly brown bird, with a shiny black cap, dark 'bib' and pale belly. In the UK its identification is made tricky by the very similar appearance of our race of willow tit. They're so hard to identify that ornithologists didn't realise there were two species until 1897!

Key ID Features:
Very similar to Willow Tit it creates an ID challenge for even experienced birders.
Both are medium sized, neat tits with a black cap and bib, plain brown back and wings, pale cheeks and grey-buff underparts.
However good views allow some help as Marsh Tit has a smaller headed and less 'bull-necked' appearance and lacks richer buff flanks, pale panels on the wings and pale edges to the tail.
More subtle clues of a white spot at base of upper mandible, glossier cap, smaller black chin patch and less defined cheek patches require excellent views.
Learning the calls of Willow and Marsh Tit provides a much easier distinction as they are quite different.

Overview
Scientific name: Parus or Poecile palustris.
Family: Tits (Paridae)

Where to see them:
Despite their name, marsh tits are most often found in broadleaf woodland, and also copses, parks and gardens. They occur across England and Wales, with a few in southern Scotland but are most abundant in south Wales and southern and eastern England.

Seen in UK:
All year round.

What they eat
Insects and seeds. If marsh tits find a good supply – perhaps at a garden feeder – they may start to hoard seeds, burying and hiding them for a rainy day. Their hippocampus – the part of their brain which specialises in remembering things – is large, bigger than a great tit's.

Text (c) RSPB, used with permission
For more information click here
Ref:
Date:
Location:
Photographer:
Tim Tapley

Marsh Tit (Parus or Poecile palustris)

This is a small, mainly brown bird, with a shiny black cap, dark 'bib' and pale belly. In the UK its identification is made tricky by the very similar appearance of our race of willow tit. They're so hard to identify that ornithologists didn't realise there were two species until 1897!

Key ID Features:
Very similar to Willow Tit it creates an ID challenge for even experienced birders.
Both are medium sized, neat tits with a black cap and bib, plain brown back and wings, pale cheeks and grey-buff underparts.
However good views allow some help as Marsh Tit has a smaller headed and less 'bull-necked' appearance and lacks richer buff flanks, pale panels on the wings and pale edges to the tail.
More subtle clues of a white spot at base of upper mandible, glossier cap, smaller black chin patch and less defined cheek patches require excellent views.
Learning the calls of Willow and Marsh Tit provides a much easier distinction as they are quite different.

Overview
Scientific name: Parus or Poecile palustris.
Family: Tits (Paridae)

Where to see them:
Despite their name, marsh tits are most often found in broadleaf woodland, and also copses, parks and gardens. They occur across England and Wales, with a few in southern Scotland but are most abundant in south Wales and southern and eastern England.

Seen in UK:
All year round.

What they eat
Insects and seeds. If marsh tits find a good supply – perhaps at a garden feeder – they may start to hoard seeds, burying and hiding them for a rainy day. Their hippocampus – the part of their brain which specialises in remembering things – is large, bigger than a great tit's.

Text (c) RSPB, used with permission
For more information click here
Ref:
Date:
Location:
Photographer:
Tim Tapley