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Meet the Model – Mack the Marsh tit

MARSH TIT

512F0FCE-89AC-4656-A681-EC6100485A18Poecile palustris

Length 12 cm

Wingspan 20 cm

Weight 13 g

Population 100,000

The marsh tit is a small, mainly brown bird, with a shiny black cap, neat black bib and pale belly. It is very similar to the Willow Tit and the two birds were only separated into two species in 1897. There are a few features which help distinguish marsh and willow tit: marsh tit have a glossier black cap and a neater bib under the chin.

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Despite their name, marsh tits are most often found in broadleaf woodland, copses, parks and gardens. Marsh tits also hold very large territories, typically three times larger than that of great tits.

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Marsh tits are monogamous and often pair for life; one pair stayed together for six years. They nest in existing tree holes, rather than excavating their own. The nest is a cup of moss, fine plant materials and lined with hair and feathers, and is built by the female who also incubates the eggs alone. the female lays here eggs in May and there are normally between seven and nine eggs per brood. The young are ready to fledge after 17 days. Second broods have been recorded, though they are extremely rare in Britain.

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They feed mostly on spiders , insects, seeds and berries, and often cache food over winter if they find a good supply. Marsh tits will also take some nuts and berries.

Conservation Status

The population has seen a significant and constant decline over many decades, with this trend still continuing. One reason cited for the decline is the loss of suitable dense understory habitat in mature woodland, with this loss resulting from an increase in the number of browsing deer. Classified as red in the UK under birds of concern , as with most wildlife in the UK the Marsh tit is protected under the wildlife and countryside act , 1981.

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All images © Wild by Photographic Solutions 2018

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