The Crested Tit (Parus cristatus) is our only tit with a crested head. Its habitat has expanded all the way to the arctic circle, though the species is in regression, perhaps due to the changes in forestry towards favoring economic forests, which are inferior in food value compared to the older, less tended woods. The Crested Tit is a local bird, and does not migrate anywhere, though during winters it does join mixed tit flocks - but even then only remains in the flock for as long as it’s stationed in a coniferous forest. Our stock of the Crested Tit has been in steady decline, from the 1.500.000 couples of the 1950’s to the approximately 300.00 couples today.
By appearance, the Crested Tit is not one likely to be confused with any other of our bird species. It is one of our smallest tits, only slightly larger than the Coal Tit. If it wasn’t for the characteristically patterned, crested head, the bird would look very plain with its evenly brownish-gray upper back and dirty-white belly. The head, however, is noteworthy - its triangular crest, with its black and white striping, is impressive-looking. Under the beak there’s a black “bib”, whose edges circumvent to the back of the bird’s head and together with the partial cheek patch form a distinctive pattern.
Along with the Willow Tit and the Siberian Tit, the Crested Tit carves its nest hole by itself, these three being our only tits who do so. The Crested Tit, however, is not too absolute in the matter, and will also accept other holes for its nest. The female carves the nest, and with the meager assistance of the male, decorates it in a manner typical to tits, depending on whether the nest is self-carved or not.
The female lays four to eight white, red-brown-spotted eggs in April and broods them for approximately two weeks while the male feeds her. The young birds will stay in the nest for about three weeks while both parents feed them with insects.
The Crested Tit is a fearless bird and will easily come near to observe and follow a strange wanderer in the forest.
- Parus ater Coal Tit kuusitiainen
- Parus atricapillus Black-capped Chickadee amerikanhömötiainen
- Parus venustulus Yellow-bellied Tit keltavatsatiainen
- Parus varius Varied Tit kirjotiainen
- Parus palustris Marsh Tit viitatiainen