Crested Tit

Crested Tit

Key facts

Scientific name: Lophophanes cristatus
Status: Resident breeding species

Breeding birds: 1,000 – 2,000 pairs

Wintering birds: 5,200 – 9,500

Conservation status: Green
Length: 11 – 12 cm
Wingspan: 17 – 20 cm
Weight: 10 – 16 g

Description

Male crested tits have grey-brown upperparts and a pale buff breast. The tail is brownish-grey edged with brown. The chin and throat are black.

It has a black and white head with a distinctive, short, spiky crest. The side of the head is creamy white and it has a black eye stripe. Crested tits’ bills are black and they have pale brown eyes and blueish-grey legs and feet.

Female crested tits are similar to males except the crest is shorter and narrower stripes on the head.

Juveniles are browner and the crest is shorter still.

Breeding

Crested tits are monogamous and the pair-bonds last for a number of seasons. They build their nests in holes in decaying or dead tree trunks or in holes excavated by woodpeckers. Female crested tits build the cup-shaped nest which is constructed from moss, lichen, hair, wool, feathers and spiders’ webs.

Crested tits lay 5-10 smooth, glossy eggs which are incubated for 13-18 days. Both parents feed the chicks which fledge at 16-22 days after hatching. They still depend on their parents for a further 25 days.

Feeding

Crested tits feed mainly on small invertebrates and larvae as well as spiders, beetles, moths, worms and snails. Outside of breeding season they will also eat seeds, berries, birch sap and some fruit.

Crested Tit

Where to see them

Crested tits can be seen all year round mainly in ancient Caledonian pine forests and Scots pine plantations of Scotland. They will also visit gardens to eat from bird tables and feeders. The occasional vagrant has been sighted in England.

Listen

Jordi Calvet/xeno-canto

Did you know?

The Scottish crested tits are considered to be a sub-species of those found on mainland Europe.

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