Mobile bird identification
Bird Field Guide
Note the warm buff-orange underside of this bird with large pale cheeks. This image also highlights the Willow Tits pale wing panel.
Widespread resident bird throughout Europe. Rare in the UK, absent from Northern Scotland, considered a species of concern in the UK due to decreasing breeding numbers which was only 3400 pairs in 2009.
Can be found in deciduous and coniferous woodland, often in Birch trees in the vicinity of water.
The rare Willow Tit is a difficult bird to identify being almost identical to the Marsh Tit, no single visual identification factor can be used alone for proof of identification, as plumage varies slightly within each species and a combination of factors will need to be noted in order to be confident of the birds identity. The birds calls however are very different and if heard can make identification more straight forward.

Willow Tit

Poecile montana
Thanks (Modified)
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Tits & Allies Menu
Order: Passeriformes

Family: Paridae

Genus: Poecile

Species: P. montana
Thanks (Modified)
Key identification points of a Willow Tit
Other Tit's
Marsh tit
Shiny black cap
Plain winged
White face
Grey-brown upperparts
Grey-buff underparts
Great Tit
Coal Tit
Blue Tit
Long-tailed Tit
Willow Tit (Rare)
Dull black cap
Pale wing panel
White face
Dull brown back
Warm orange buff flanks
Long-tailed Tit
Long thin tail
Dull white head
Pink and brown back
White underside
Small round appearance
Blue Tit
Small blue and yellow bird
White cheeks
Bright blue cap
Dark line through eye
Black chin
Great Tit
Shiny black head
Bold white cheek
Black stripe down breast
Bright yellow underside
Large for a Paridae
Coal Tit
Black head with white nape patch
Greyish back
Bright buff underside
Large black bib
Two white wing bars
Crested Tit
Pointed distinctive crest
White face
Buff underside
Plain wings, no wing bars
Brown back
Crested Tit
Blue-grey head
Rufus brown body
Streaked wings
Long tail
Black mark down face on male
Bearded Tit
Bearded Tit
Penduline Tit
Broad black mark across face
Red-brown back
Dull white underside
Pale grey face
Red-brown band on wings
Penduline Tit (Rare)
Willow Tit or Marsh Tit?
Willow Tit Marsh Tit
Head shape Large, no neck Smaller, longer neck
Facial pattern White face curves right up to nape White face smaller, not to nape
Crown colour & shape Dull mate black, narrow at nape Shiny black, wide at nape
Throat patch Larger black patch Smaller black patch
Wing panel Distinctive pale panel Plain winged
Underparts Warm buff with orange-buff flanks Pale buff
Bill colour Plain black Plain black with pale mark on upper bill below nostril
Tail shape Rounder tail corners Square corners
Habitat High & low in both Deciduous & Coniferous Usually low on deciduous
Dull black cap
White cheeks
Pale wing panel
Black chin
Pale orange buff flanks
Dull brown back
Grey buff underside
Willow Tit
Marsh Tit face pattern
Willow Tit face pattern
Willow Tit (left), Marsh Tit (right):

Compare the size of the pale cheeks, the Willow Tits runs right up the the black nape, the Marsh Tits pale cheeks are much smaller.
Marsh Tit
Unlike the Willow Tit, this Marsh Tit lacks the warm buff-orange flanks and the upper-parts are more grey-brown than dull-brown. You can also see the smaller pale cheeks on this bird with a buff-brown shading running up to the nape from the back.
Willow Tit
Marsh Tit