Coal tit (Parus ater) is clearly an inhabitant of coniferous forests - they only visit feeding spots if they're located close to coniferous trees. Spread almost thoughout Europe, the coal tit lives in Southern and Middle-Finland, the northernmost areas of its habitat. Even though it's a local bird living in mixed flocks during winter, it does migrate regularly and repeatedly.
Despite of its wandering tendencies, the coal tit has a slight difference in appearance in various parts of Europe. The average amount of nesting coal tits per year is approximately 50.000 couples.
On a quick glance, the coal tit does resemble the great tit, but when observed close to each other, such as on a feeding spot, the differences are striking. The coal tit is no match for the great tit in terms of the brightness of its colours, though their basic colour patterns are very similar. The white, elongated spot on the nape of the coal tit is also brighter and more striking to the eye. The coal tit has no line in the middle of its belly, but usually has an observable secondary wing line. When next to each other, the size difference of the two birds is also obvious, with the coal tit being significantly smaller.
The coal tit begins to nest well into april. The nest is located in a coniferous forest, either in a hole in a rotten standing tree, or in a birdhouse. The nest is often on a very low height and lined, just as the great tits. The eggs often number from eight to ten and are white in colour, decorated with red spots. The brooding, which is done by the female, takes a couple of weeks. Often the coal tit will nest twice during a nesting season.
The coal tits are very lively birds, even to the point of appearing restless. They spiral around frantically at the tops of spruces, and only calm down when they stop to engage a potential piece of food that turned out to not be so easy to swallow after all.
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