European crested tit

The European crested tit, or simply 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 chiefly restricted to the ancient pinewoods of Inverness and Strathspey in Scotland, and seldom strays far from its haunts. A few vagrant crested tits have been seen in England. It is resident, and most individuals do not migrate.

European crested tit
Lophophanes cristatus - 01.jpg
In Spain
Bird recorded in Scotland
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Paridae
Genus: Lophophanes
L. cristatus
Binomial name
Lophophanes cristatus
Range of L. cristatus

Parus cristatus Linnaeus, 1758

Taxonomy and systematicsEdit

This species was formerly placed in Parus, but the distinctness of Lophophanes is well supported,[2] and it is now recognised by the American Ornithologists' Union and the British Ornithologists' Union as a distinct genus.[3]

The current genus name, Lophophanes, is from the Ancient Greek lophos, "crest", and phaino, "to show". The specific cristatus is Latin for "crested".[4]

Behaviour and ecologyEdit

Eggs, Collection Museum Wiesbaden

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  birdsong , 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 is found in pairs and it feeds on insects (including caterpillars) and seeds.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Lophophanes cristatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T22711810A87427182. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22711810A87427182.en. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Sangster, George; Collinson, J Martin; Helbig, Andreas J; Knox, Alan G; Parkin, David T (2005). "Taxonomic recommendations for British birds: third report". Ibis. 147 (4): 821–826. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.2005.00483.x.[dead link]
  4. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 122, 230. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.

External linksEdit