The 10 Smallest Birds in the UK

wild bird, nature, bird-8771711.jpg

If you’ve spotted a tiny bird flitting through a bush or displaying a bright crest, you might be curious about what you’ve seen. This guide will introduce you to the ten smallest birds in the UK, helping you to identify these diminutive avians, from the well-known Robin to the elusive Firecrest.

  1. Goldcrest
    • Scientific Name: Regulus regulus
    • Lifespan: 6 years
    • Size: 9 cm (3.5 in)
    • Weight: 5 g (0.18 oz)
    • Wingspan: 14-15 cm (5.5-5.9 in)
    • Population: 610,000 breeding territories
    • Status: Green
    The UK’s smallest bird, the Goldcrest, is greyish-green with a striking yellow crest bordered by black. They are agile and can be seen in woodlands, parks, and gardens, feeding on spiders, insects, and moth eggs.
  2. Firecrest
    • Scientific Name: Regulus ignicapillus
    • Lifespan: 6 years
    • Size: 9.3 cm (3.7 in)
    • Weight: 6 g (0.21 oz)
    • Wingspan: 14-15 cm (5.5-5.9 in)
    • Population: 550 breeding territories
    • Status: Green
    Similar in size to the Goldcrest, the Firecrest has an orange crest with black stripes and a distinct black eye stripe. They are found mainly in southern England’s coniferous and mixed woodlands.
  3. Wren
    • Scientific Name: Troglodytes troglodytes
    • Lifespan: 4 years
    • Size: 9 cm (3.5 in)
    • Weight: 7-12 g (0.25-0.42 oz)
    • Wingspan: 16-18 cm (6.3-7 in)
    • Population: 8-11 million breeding territories
    • Status: Amber
    The Wren is compact and round, with a notably upright tail. They are numerous but can be elusive, often heard more than seen due to their loud and powerful song relative to their size.
  4. Goldfinch
    • Scientific Name: Carduelis carduelis
    • Lifespan: 2 years
    • Size: 12-13 cm (4.7-5.1 in)
    • Weight: 14-18 g (0.49-0.63 oz)
    • Wingspan: 21-25 cm (8.3-9.8 in)
    • Population: 1.2 million pairs
    • Status: Green
    Recognizable by their bright red face and yellow wing patches, Goldfinches are commonly found in various habitats, including urban areas, where they feed on seeds and insects.
  5. Coal Tit
    • Scientific Name: Periparus ater
    • Lifespan: 3 years
    • Size: 11.5 cm (4.5 in)
    • Weight: 9 g (0.32 oz)
    • Wingspan: 18-20 cm (7-7.9 in)
    • Population: 670,000-680,000 breeding territories
    • Status: Green
    Coal Tits are identified by their black cap, bib, white cheeks, and distinctive white spot on the nape. They frequent woodlands, parks, and gardens, feeding on insects, spiders, seeds, and berries.
  6. Marsh Tit
    • Scientific Name: Poecile palustris
    • Lifespan: 2-3 years
    • Size: 12 cm (4.7 in)
    • Weight: 11-14 g (0.39-0.49 oz)
    • Wingspan: 18-20 cm (7-7.9 in)
    • Population: 41,000 breeding territories
    • Status: Red
    Marsh Tits have a distinctive black cap and a neat bib under their beak. They are found in woodlands and feed on insects and seeds, often storing food for later consumption.
  7. Willow Tit
    • Scientific Name: Poecile montanus
    • Lifespan: 2 years
    • Size: 12 cm (4.7 in)
    • Weight: 10-13 g (0.35-0.46 oz)
    • Wingspan: 18-20 cm (7-7.9 in)
    • Population: 3,400 pairs
    • Status: Red
    Similar to Marsh Tits, Willow Tits have a larger white patch on the cheeks and a more sooty black cap. Their nasal and buzzing call helps distinguish them.
  8. Blue Tit
    • Scientific Name: Cyanistes caeruleus
    • Lifespan: 2 years
    • Size: 12 cm (4.7 in)
    • Weight: 11-13 g (0.39-0.46 oz)
    • Wingspan: 18-20 cm (7-7.9 in)
    • Population: 3,600,000 breeding territories
    • Status: Green
    The colorful Blue Tit has a blue head, white cheeks, and a bright yellow belly. They are common in gardens and woodlands, feeding on insects, seeds, and nuts.
  9. Robin
    • Scientific Name: Erithacus rubecula
    • Lifespan: 1.5-2 years
    • Size: 12.5 cm (4.9 in)
    • Weight: 16-22 g (0.56-0.78 oz)
    • Wingspan: 20-22 cm (8-8.5 in)
    • Population: 6,700,000 breeding territories
    • Status: Green
    With its iconic red breast and friendly demeanor, the Robin is a beloved bird in the UK. They are often seen in gardens, where they feed on insects, fruits, and berries.
  10. Long-tailed Tit
    • Scientific Name: Aegithalos caudatus
    • Lifespan: 3 years
    • Size: 14 cm (5.5 in)
    • Weight: 5-8 g (0.18-0.28 oz)
    • Wingspan: 22-24 cm (8.7-9.4 in)
    • Population: 340,000 breeding territories
    • Status: Green
    The Long-tailed Tit is easy to identify due to its long tail and distinctive black, white, and pink coloring. They are often seen in small, noisy groups and feed mainly on insects.


These ten tiny birds add charm and diversity to the UK’s avian population. Observing them in their natural habitats or at your bird feeder can be a delightful experience. By creating a bird-friendly environment with feeders, nest boxes, and native plants, you can help support these small wonders. Reducing pesticide use is also crucial, as insects are a primary food source for many of these birds. Enjoy watching these little birds bring life and color to your garden!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top