Chickadees and Titmice Family


The tits, chickadees, and titmice comprise Paridae, a large family of small passerine birds.

These birds are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They range in length from 10 to 22 centimetres. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. Many species will live around human habitation and come readily to bird feeders for nuts or seed, and learn to take other foods. 

Birds from this family are highly adaptable and, after the corvids (crows and jays) and parrots, amongst the most intelligent of all birds. In Britain, Great Tits and Blue Tits famously learned to break open the foil caps sealing bottles of milk that had been delivered to homes to get at the cream floating on top.

One characteristic method of foraging in the family is hanging, where they will inspect a branch or twig and leaves from all angles while hanging upside down to feed. In areas where numerous species of tit or titmouse coexist different species will forage in different parts of the tree, their niche determined in no small way by their morphology; larger species forage on the ground, medium sized species foraging on larger branches and the smallest species on the ends of branches. Having obtained larger prey items or seeds tits will engage in hold-hammering, where they will hold the item with one foot and hammer it with the bill until it is open. In this fashion they can even open hazelnuts in around 20 minutes. A number of genera engage in food caching, hoarding supplies of food during the winter. These caches are usually of seeds but may be of insects.