Cornish Biodiversity Network  -  Supporting Wildlife Recording

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Cornish Red Data (2009)

The descriptive text, below the map, is from the Cornish Red Data Book (2009). The map on this web page depicts the organisms distribution and shows the records made pre-2000 and those made since.

Poecile montanus - Willow Tit

Range & Status

50,000+ pairs in Britain, but 50% decrease between 1972 and 1996.

Regional Distribution

Cornwall: exists in pockets of suitable habitat in mid Cornwall heaths (Redmoor and Goss Moor), valleys flanking Bodmin Moor (Upper Fowey and Warleggan valleys) and in the extreme north-east of the county (Tamar Lakes). Very localised and showing a marked decline, perhaps no more than 100 pairs. Bodmin Moor surveys in 1984 and 1999 showed a 60% decrease from 15 to six pairs. Isles of Scilly: absent.

Habitat & Ecology

Restricted to Willow Salix spp. carr or mixed Willow and Birch Betula spp. woodland in the upper reaches of valleys running off central ridge of Cornwall. Basically resident, but occasional birds seem to wander and turn up far from the usual haunts, even in coastal scrub. Excavates its own nest hole in a rotten stump; the presence of such stumps is a possible reason why Willow Tits require large territories; this coupled with limited habitat means low population densities.


Habitat destruction \endash clearance of Willow thickets from riverbanks by water authorities.


To increase the population, a form of Willow and Birch management plan is required.


I.J. Bennallick, S. Board, C.N. French, P.A. Gainey, C. Neil, R. Parslow, A. Spalding and P.E. Tompsett. eds. 2009. Red Data Book for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 2nd Edition.Croceago Press.

The Cornish Red Data Book Project was led by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Federation for Biological Recorders (CISFBR). The full text and species accounts (minus the maps) are available on the CISFBR website.