The crested tit, living mainly in the forest


The crested tit owes its name to the cap that stands on its head. Very widespread in Europe and France, the small passerine mainly frequents the forests of coniferous where he finds his food and feels safe. Portrait of a bird homebody, which hardly strayed from its territory.

From the Paridae family

The crested tit (Lophophanes cristatus) belongs to the family of paridaeSmall to medium-sized, stocky passerines. This family is characterized by a straight beak, rather short but powerful, allowing it to pierce the husk of hard seeds or hollow out dead wood. Its sturdy, clawed paws are a adaptation in the wooded environment in which the bird evolves by clinging to the branches and exploring the trees in all positions, including the head upside down. Paridae are divided into seven subspecies that differ in color intensity.

A tit with puff

The hoopoe erectile streaked with black and white, shorter in the female, makes it possible to distinguish the crested tit from all the other small birds nesting in France. His back is gray brown, the sides tinted red and the underside creamy white. His white head wears a eye patch black and its neck displays a bib and a necklace also black. The eye is red in adults, brown in young. The passerine is about 11 cm long for a mass of 10 to 13 g.

The crested tit, very European

The crested tit resides in most of theEurope, from Spain to the Urals and from Scandinavia to northern Greece. It is absent from Italy and Great Britain, (except in Scotland where a small population lives), and in the far north of Scandinavia. In France, it is found almost everywhere except in Corsica. The bird frequents mainly the forests of coniferous (firs, spruces, pines) and more rarely mixed woodlands or pure hardwoods. We observe it in the plains as in Mountain where it sometimes risks up to 2300 meters of altitude outside the breeding season. The crested tit also frequents parks and gardens provided with favorable conditions, such as feeders.

The crested tit, a sociable bird

The crested tit is a species sedentary which conserves its territory and defends it all year round. Little shy but discreet, it turns out to be difficult to approach, preferring to stay in the cover and flee open spaces. Like all tits, this species is typically cave and digs its hole itself in stumps of dead or rotting wood. Sociable, the bird appreciates the company of congeners who share the same biotopes (other chickadees, kinglets, creepers) and with whom it allies to seek food on bad days.

The crested tit, a far-sighted species

The crested tit feeds mainly on small invertebrates such as spiders, aphids, molluscs, earthworms and larvae (especially caterpillars). Outside the breeding season, it consumes seeds pecked on the heights of conifers but also berries, buds and some fruits found in the undergrowth or on the ground. At the onset of winter, the sparrow forms reservations food that it conceals in conifer bark and covers with saliva or spider web. In the cold season, these feeding places are often shared by all the members of the group.

Crested Tit: a faithful couple

Species monogamous, the crested tit keeps the bonds of its couple all its life. During mating season, the female makes a hole in the trunk or stump of rotten wood. Its nest, located about three meters high, includes a chopped off made of moss, lichen and grasses and a carpet composed of hair, wool and feathers. This is where 5-7 eggs are laid between April and May. The two-week incubation is ensured by the mother whom the male feeds regularly. Both parents feed their chicks with spiders and some seeds of conifers. The young people take off after about twenty days but remain dependent adults for another month for feeding.

The expanding crested tit

The raptors, like the European hawk and the little owl, constitute the second source of predation after the cat on passerine populations. The Great Spotted Woodpecker is the main predator crested tit nests. To a lesser extent, mustelids and opportunistic rodents (stone marten, marten, red squirrel) can attack eggs or chicks. Listed as Least Concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the species is not threatened currently. Protected in France since 1981, the bird is even expanding with the encroachment of forests. The lifespan of the crested tit is 5 to 8 years wild.