Birds by Name – T
The Mistle Thrush, Turdus viscivorus, is a largish member of the thrush family Turdidae and is usually found in open woods and cultivated land throughout Europe and much of Asia.
The Mistle Thrush grows up to 27 centimetres in length, making it a bit larger than the similar Song Thrush. It has a grey-brown back and round, black spots on its belly. The sexes are very similar.
The Mistle Thrush can be quite aggressive, particularly at feeding time. It eats berries, worms, slugs and various insects.
Species: T. viscivorus
The Song Thrush, Turdus philomelos, is throughout much of Eurasia although numbers appear to be declining in the UK.
It has brown upperparts and black-spotted cream or buff underparts with very little difference between the sexes. It is, in many ways, quite similar to another member of the thrush family, the Redwing.
The Song Thrush can be found wherever there are trees and bushes ahnd they are quite frequent visitors to gardens.
They eat snails, worms and fruit. They open up the snails by whacking them on the ground with a simple flick of the head.
Species: T. philomelos
The Blue Tit, Cyanistes caeruleus, is a small passerine bird in the tit family Paridae and is easily recognisable by its blue and yellow plumage.
The Blue Tit prefers insects, caterpillars and spiders for their diet, although outside the breeding season they also eat seeds and other vegetable-based foods.
The Blue Tit is usually about 12 centimetres in length, has a wingspan of around 18 centimetres and weighs in at about 11 grams.
The common Blue Tit has an azure blue crown with a dark blue line passing through the eye, encircling the white cheeks to the chin. The forehead and a bar on the wing are white. The nape, wings and tail are blue, the back is yellowish green and the under parts are mostly yellowy with a dark line down the abdomen. The bill is black and the legs bluish grey. Both sexes are pretty similar and juveniles are noticeably more yellow.
The yellowness of the belly is apparently indicative of the number of yellowy-green caterpillars eaten (due to high levels of carotene pigments).
Species: C. caeruleus
The Coal Tit, Periparus ater, is a small, 10 to 12 cm long, passerine bird and common resident breeder throughout Eurasia and parts of North Africa.
It has a glossy black-blue head, throat and neck and white or off-white cheeks and nape of the neck. Juveniles are less glossy and the white bits are often tinged with yellow.
Nests tend to be quite low, often deep inside rotting tree stumps or even in the ground. Seven to eleven eggs are the norm.
Seeds are the main diet of the Coal Tit and they are quite happy feeding in gardens if food is put out for them.
Species: P. ater
The Great Tit, Parus major, is a passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. It is a widespread and common species throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central and Northern Asia and parts of North Africa. It is green and yellow with a glossy black neck and head and white cheeks.
The Great Tit, the largest of the UK tit family, usually nests in holes in trees and as a result can fall fowl of woodpeckers, squirrels and even weasels.
The Great Tit generally eats insects but will eat other things if necessary, especially during the winter months.
Species: P. major
The Long-tailed Tit, Aegithalos caudatus, is a fairly common sight throughout Europe and Asia and is easily recognised by its long tail which is longer than its body.
It is small and grows to a length of between 13 and 15 centimetres, of which 7 to 9 ccentimetres is its tail.
It mainly eats insects but will try other things such as seeds in the autumn and winter.
Species: A. caudatus
The Treecreeper, Certhia familiaris, is a small, quite dull colured passerine bird belonging to the family Certhiidae.
It is speckly brown above and mainly white below and has a long, slender, downcurved bill for getting insects out of the bark of trees. It grows to a length of around 18 cm.
As the name suggests, it creeps around the trunks and branches of trees, hopping on both legs and sometimes using its tail as a support. It eats insects and spiders and seeds in winter.
Genus: C. familiaris
The Tufted Duck, Aythya fuligula, is a medium-sized diving duck found in marshland, coastal areas, gravel pits, lakes and lagoons. It is a bit smaller than a (normal) Mallard.
The male has a black head, neck, breast and back and white on the sides. It has a small crest and a yellow eye. The female is brown in colour with paler in colour and more likely to be confused with other species of ducks.
Tufted Ducks eat molluscs, insects and the odd bit of greenery.
Species: A. fuligula
The Turnstone, Arenaria interpres, is a wading birds belonging to the family Scolopacidae and closely related to sandpipers.
They are Arctic breeders and migratory. Turnstones have strong necks and bills well suited to their feeding technique, namely turning over stones to find food, mainly invertebrates. They are strictly coastal and prefer stony beaches to sand.
Turnstones have brown or chestnut and black upperparts and brown and white or black and white head pattern, whilst their underparts are white. Their legs are orange.