Map explanation

This map shows where changes occurred in the relative abundance of the species in Wiltshire between 1995-2000 and 2007-2012, as revealed by the fieldwork for Birds of Wiltshire (Wiltshire Ornithological Society 2007) and the shared fieldwork for Bird Atlas 2007-2011 (BTO 2013) and for Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2007-2012.


Relative to average

Nos tetrads

More abundant



Equally abundant



Less abundant



Not surveyed in both periods

Great Tits are found across a vast area from northwest Africa and the Mediterranean islands, through most of continental Eurasia, across a range of zones from the subarctic to the tropical and at elevations from sea level to the treeline on mountains. In Europe they are among the most ubiquitous of species, with significant increases in populations in some countries, including Estonia, The Netherlands and Ukraine in recent years, and generally stable populations elsewhere.
    In the British Isles Great Tits are absent only from treeless highland areas in mainland Scotland, and from the Northern Isles and the Outer Hebrides. Bird Atlas 2007-2011 recorded range increases of 7% in winter distribution since the 1981-84 Winter Atlas and of 4% in summer distribution since the 1968-72 Breeding Atlas. These range increases were accompanied by significant increases in population density: breeding numbers in the UK increased by 112% between 1967 and 2000. More recent figures however show the beginnings of a downward trend: statistics from the BTO's annual Breeding Bird Survey suggest a 10% decline between 2006 and 2016, though the overall increase between 1967 and 2016 still showed 89% growth.
    Great Tits have been common and abundant in Wiltshire at least since the 19th century, so much so that they received little more than passing references in the historical records. Birds of Wiltshire recorded them present in 887 tetrads, with breeding confirmed or probable in 717. WTA2 found them in 901 tetrads with breeding confirmed or probable in 703.
The following references are used throughout these species accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
“1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
“1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
“1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
“Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007 : Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
“Bird Atlas 2007-2011” – Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: Bird Atlas 2007-2011: the Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland
“WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.