The great tit is a bird species from the titmice family. It is the largest and most widespread titmouse species in Europe. However, its range extends to the Middle East and through the temperate zone of Asia to the Far East.
The great tit's original habitat is deciduous and mixed forests with old trees; however, due to its adaptability, it occurs in almost all habitats where it finds caves to nest in. It is usually one of the most common bird species. Its diet is very varied, but it eats mainly insects and their larvae as well as plant food such as seeds or nuts. Nests are built in tree hollows, nesting boxes or other cavities and usually between six and twelve eggs are laid inside. Most great tits stay in their breeding areas in winter, where they sometimes roam in small groups and also socialise with other tits. Birds from more northern regions sometimes migrate to more southern regions.
From early spring and sometimes even in winter, the rather striking, metallic-bright song can be heard, which can be a two-syllabled tsi-da ... tsi-da ... tsi-da ... or, for example, as a tsi-da-tsit ... also three-syllabled. In addition, the great tit has a very broad repertoire of calls, such as a high pink and a warning dädä.
In the past, more than 30 subspecies were counted among the great tit. However, genetic research has led to the East and South Asian populations being separated as separate species (Parus minor and Parus cinereus), which do not yet have German names. Only 15 subspecies are now assigned to the great tit.