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Crested Tit

Crested Tit
Both sexes: Grey-brown upperparts, whitish underparts. Black and white crest.

Crested Tits are similar to Marsh Tits and Willow Tits but, in Britain, Crested Tits are found only in the Caledonian forests of Scotland.

They have a relatively large head, which is a dirty white with a neat black crescent-shape running through and behind the eye, a black bib and collar. The pointed crest, which is speckled with black and white, is unique to British birds of this size. The upperparts are grey-brown and the underparts are whitish with buff coloured flanks. The bill is black and the legs are grey-olive.

Juveniles are browner, have a less pointed crest, and lack the black collar.

Scientific Name Lophophanes cristatus
Length 11.5 cm (4½")
Wing Span 17-20 cm (6½-7½")
Weight 10-13 g (½ oz)
Breeding Pairs 900
Present All Year
Status Amber

Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.


The call is a soft, bubbly trill that, when repeated, becomes the bird's song.


© Jean Roché,

© Jean Roché,


Crested Tits forage on the ground and among the low branches of pine forests in search of insects, spiders and pine seeds.

They will visit bird tables in gardens.


The nest is built by the female in a hole excavated in rotten wood, for example: stump of a tree, or partly dead tree. The nest cup is made from moss and lichen, lined with hair, wool and spiders' webs.

Nest boxes filled with sawdust and wood shavings are sometimes used.

The smooth, glossy eggs are white with purplish-red speckles and blotches, and about 16 mm by 13 mm. Incubation is by the female only. The young are fed by both parents. After fledging, they become independent after another 3 weeks.

After the breeding season, Crested Tits often form social groups, sometimes with other species such as Coal Tits and Goldcrests.

Breeding Starts Clutches Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
April 1 4-8 13-16 17-21


Crested Tits are extremely sedentary and their only movements are restricted to independent juveniles dispersing from their natal grounds.


Crested Tits are specially protected as they are restricted mainly to the old Scot's Pine forests in Scotland.