Crested Tit

Crested Tit

The Crested Tit, Lophophanes cristatus (formerly Parus cristatus), is a passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. It is a widespread and common resident breeder in coniferous forests throughout central and northern Europe and in deciduous woodland in France and the Iberian peninsula. In Great Britain, it is restricted to the ancient pinewoods of the Spey Valley in Scotland, an area some 30 miles in length and two or three miles wide, and seldom strays far from its haunts. A few vagrant Crested Tits have been seen in England. It is resident, and most birds do not migrate.

It is an easy tit to recognise, for besides its erectile crest, the tip of which is often recurved, its gorget and collar are distinctive. It is, like other tits, talkative, and birds keep up a constant zee, zee, zee , similar to that of the Coal Tit .

It makes a nest in a hole in rotting stumps. This bird often feeds low down in trees, but although not shy, it is not always easily approached. It will join winter tit flocks with other species.

Like other tits, it feeds on insects, including caterpillars, and seeds.

Taxonomic note: This species was formerly placed in Parus, but distinctness of Lophophanes is well-supported (Gill wt al., 2005) and now recognised by the AOU and the BOU as a distinct genus.

References

  • Gill, Frank B.; Slikas, Beth & Sheldon, Frederick H. (2005): Phylogeny of titmice (Paridae): II. Species relationships based on sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene. Auk 122: 121-143. DOI: 10.1642/0004-8038(2005)122[0121:POTPIS]2.0.CO;2 HTML abstract

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