While notoriously territorial and merciless towards intruders, the European robins (Erithacus rubecula) are nonetheless 20 grams of irresistibly colored feathery charm.
A robin singing in the rain.
The design of their feathers and the variety of tones are absolutely spectacular.
Great tits can be found all over Europe and large parts of Asia. In European cities they are a common sight in parks and gardens. Great tits are also fantastic singers. By varying their song within their territory they create the impression of a large population to discourage possible newcomers.
A great tit indulging in the seeds of spring
Blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) are now some of the most common songbirds in European woodlands, parks and gardens. Their characteristic blue caps are important in blue tit social life. They can distinguish ultraviolet light and the more reflected by the blue caps the more attractive the males are for breeding. Which doesn't stop the females from a fair share of extramarital breeding.
11 grams of noisy, colourful feathery delight, the main diet of these tiny acrobats consists of insects, although in winter they won't refuse seeds and peanuts either.
According to a recent study female blue tits mate with more than one male to secure a better protection of the nest. Males cooperate to defend the nest with their offspring against predators.
Tiny (some 12 cms long and weighing a mere 12 grams), yet all claws and beak, treecreepers are perfectly adapted for climbing trunks and branches, searching for insects and spiders. And yes, even the camouflage works well.
Once the most comon bird in European cities, now disappeared in many of them, the chunky and noisy house sparrow is a sympathetic little opportunist whose longtime association with humans has become legendary.
Irresistibly cute, these hyper-active tiny little balls have a long black-and-white tail that is bigger than their body.
One of the tiniest birds in Europe, weighing a mere 9 grams, but also one of the loudest songbirds.
Just 9 grams and 14 cms long, long-tailed tits usually appear in groups, roaming woodlands and parks. They feed on insects and spiders.
Although spotted in November, this stonechat in Richmond Park, UK still has its summer plumage with black head and rust red breast. By its Dutch name "roodborsttapuit" the similarties between this tiny passerine bird (12-13 cm, up to 17 g) and the robin are evident.
Great crested grebe
The elegant great crested grebe has just like the coot and the grey heron gradually made its entrance in the European cities and can now be spotted in parks and rivers, as well as in its natural wetlands.
For most people these graceful aerial acrobats are the harbinger of spring, and according to some they even bring good luck. Fact is though that in the last decades the populations of barn swallows have been in decline in Western and Central Europe.