The Kennedy Wild Bird Food Guide to the Great Tit

The Great Tit

The great tit with its green and yellow feathers, glossy black head, and white cheeks is the largest tit in the UK. Although the great tit is primarily a woodland bird they have adapted to man-made habitats and are now a familiar visitor to gardens around the UK. If you have a bird table, it’s normal to see the great tit fighting off other smaller tits. However, in the winter it works alongside blue tits and other members of the tit family to scour the countryside and gardens for food.

What does a great tit look like?

The male great tit is slightly larger than the female. Featuring a green back with yellow underparts and a black stripe from the throat down the rest of their body. You can tell the males apart from the females because their black stripe is much wider than on the females. Young great tits have a slightly paler plumage than the older great tits. Unusually, the chicks already have coloured patches of feathers, unlike many other juvenile birds which are brown in colour to avoid being easily spotted by predators.

male great tit

What does a great tit sound like?

The great tit has a distinctive two-syllable birdsong, with one syllable higher than the other. It can be described as if the great tit was saying “tea-cher, tea-cher”. However, great tits are known to have a repertoire of up to eight different bird songs so if you hear a birdsong that you don’t recognise, it could well be that of a great tit.

Where to spot a great tit?

As mentioned above, great tits can be found in the woodlands, farmlands, parks, and gardens across the UK although they are extremely rare in the Hebrides and Shetlands in the Northern and Western Scottish Isles. The great tit is increasingly being spotted in urban areas and it is thanks to its adaptability and garden feeders we can now appreciate this beautiful bird in our gardens. Great tits love nest boxes and usually nest in tree holes, rock faces, and walls.

If you spot a great tit in your garden or whilst walking through the great UK woodlands and countryside, make sure to log your sighting on our Kennedy BirdSpotter tool.  

Where do great tits nest?

Great tits are cavity nesters meaning that they often build their nests in crevices and holes in trees. As they have adapted to urban areas, you can now find them nest boxes. If you have a nest box they will pad it out with moss and roots, however, they’ll be extremely grateful if you put in animal and plant wool already for them. Great tits are extremely protective of their eggs so try not to approach their nest as they’ll hiss as a warning to stay away.

If you’ve spotted a great tit in your garden and want them to stay then, add one of our standard Kennedy nest boxes to your garden, listen out for their famous two-syllable birdsong and add their favourite foods to a bird feeder.

What are their behaviours?

Despite being small, the great tit is a feisty bird, and can often be spotted fighting off small birds and other members of the tit family when trying to get to a food source. They adapt really well to new environments and man made changes, and as such, are regular visitors to gardens across the UK. In the winter, they can be found roaming more rural areas and the countryside for food too.


What do great tits eat?

Great tits can be found in a range of environments and so their diets are just as varied. They feed on insects in the wild, however, in urban settings they will feed primarily on seeds and nuts from bird feeders. Use a mix of nuts and sunflower hearts, set up the nest box for great tits and enjoy watching these beautiful birds make their home in your garden.