Birds

Crested Tit - description, habitat, interesting facts

Appearance and behavior. Small (smaller than sparrow), modestly colored bird. This is the only small bird in Europe and the only tit in the fauna of Russia, having a crest. Body length 11.5–12 cm, weight 10–15 g.

Description. Male and female painted similarly. The top of the body is grayish-brown, the bottom is whitish, with ocher on the sides and undertail. On the back of the head the cap goes into a pointed tuft, its height and angle of inclination may vary depending on the mood of the bird. The head as a whole is colored very contrastly. On the cap a characteristic scaly pattern of white rims and black feather bases is developed. In this case, the overall color of the cap varies from almost white on the forehead to scaly gray at the crown and to almost black at the top of the tuft. From the front edge of the eye, not reaching the base of the beak, a black stripe passes. It continues behind the eye, and in the region of the covering feathers of the ear, it sharply curves downward, turns toward the throat, and ends slightly behind the line of the eye. As a result, a contrasting black crescent is clearly visible against the background of a wide white “cheek”. Between the dark cap and the band through the eye passes a white eyebrow. The throat is black, triangular. A narrow black stripe from the bottom of the throat continues along the border of the white cheek and brown top and reaches the very base of the crest. The wings and tail are dark, brownish-gray, barely noticeable contrasting with the upper body. Bill is black, eyes are light brown or dark red, legs are bluish-gray. The female has a shorter tuft, the lines of the pattern on the sides of the head are narrower, there is a slight ocher coating on the cap, the sides are more red.

Young birds are painted more dimly, the tuft is short, brownish is present on the cap, and on the sides of the head are ocher tones. The dark lines of the pattern on the sides of the head are brownish, more blurry. The stain on the throat with a brownish tinge does not combine with the pattern on the sides of the head. From all the other tits and other small birds of similar appearance, it is distinguished by the presence of a noticeable pointed tuft.

Vote thin, squeaky, loud enough. The most characteristic call is a thin, hurried trill "Zia-Zia-Zia-Zia. "With a rougher ending"taa-taa-taa. ", Frequent and individual whistles"these " or "sit ". The song is an elongated and louder version of the main call: “syi-syi-syi-cha-cha-cha. ". often interspersed with tall shortthese-and-and. ».

Distribution, status. The area covers Europe and comes to the Southern Urals. It inhabits most of our region. Resident bird undertaking only minor winter migrations. In the corresponding biotopes in the north of the region is very common, in the middle lane and in the south is more rare. The number is subject to irregular fluctuations, which are largely associated with cold winters.

Lifestyle. The characteristic inhabitant of various coniferous stands, mixed and especially deciduous forests avoids. Occasionally can be met in gardens and parks. The diet includes a variety of invertebrates, seeds of conifers, berries, birch sap, aspen, and maple sap. During the whole year it stores food, in spring and autumn - seeds, in summer - invertebrates. The crested tit willingly joins the mixed blue-headed flocks, most often those that already include puffy, ordinary pika and yellow-headed kingfly.

Nesting period from March to June. Nests are arranged in the natural cavities of old trees or stumps, in old hollows of woodpeckers, in old nests of crows, birds of prey or squirrels at a height of 13 m, usually within 3 m from the ground. The female builds the nest; the male sometimes helps in preparing the nesting chamber. In clutch 5–11 whites with reddish or brownish speckled eggs, the female incubates for 13–18 days. Feeding lasts 16–22 days, both parents feed. After departure from the nest, the feeding continues for about 23-25 ​​days.

Crested Tit, or Grenadier (Parus cristatus)

The most common types of tits in our country

Before determining which titmouses are located in Russia, it is necessary to figure out which species of these birds exist at all. The most popular and common varieties are the following:

  1. Great tit This type of titmouse is most often found in the city. These birds are not at all afraid and not shy about people, so they gladly go to the city for food.
  2. Blue Tit. These titmouses, on the contrary, categorically ignore cities. Birds are migratory.
  3. Moskovka. This type of tits is also quite common in cities; however, not everyone understands that this is a tit, because its color is completely blue.
  4. White-headed tit. These birds are also not particularly fond of people, try to avoid the cities, and in general for the life choose the marshlands.
  5. Long-tailed tit This representative of birds likes peace and solitude, so it’s almost impossible to meet them in the city. Mostly these birds live along the coasts of the rivers.
  6. Remez. This bird can also be attributed to the river species. However, with all this representative of the genus is also completely wild, therefore it also bypasses the settlements of people.

Where do they live?

Previously, the traditional habitat of the crested tits was the northern territory of Europe. Today, these birds have spread their distribution also in the middle territories of the Volga region and the Arkhangelsk region, in Bashkiria, in the eastern territories of the Caucasus, in these regions the titmouse feels great.

In the past few years, the distribution areas of these birds have expanded significantly. Today, crested tits can be found in other regions, mainly they occupy areas where coniferous trees grow. An interesting fact is that ornithologists found Khokhlushka even on the territory of Greece and Spain, although these were only isolated individuals.

The behavior and character of the crested tit


The crested tit is characterized by all the virtues and habits characteristic of the birds of its kind. These are very active birds that are constantly in motion, while they are very cheerful and bold, often participating in various quarrels and fights. The Khokhlushka has a very manly character, thanks to which he loves to climb.

You can not call the crested tits great singers, since these abilities are not very developed. This may somewhat disappoint breeders who are trying to tame a titmouse. However, Ukrainians may be interested in their other habits. For example, in the mating season, the males take such poses that the greatest feathered seducers can envy.

Also unique is the fact that the crested in winter can be easily combined with other species of birds in order to make it easier to survive. As a rule, their companions are koreli, wood-rattle, pikas and tits. Travel of these birds are exclusively under the supervision of the variegated woodpecker. This approach makes the flight safer.

Khokhlushka - feathered lifeguard

The Khokhlushka, as well as the tuxedo, is a real orderly who clears coniferous forests. The main advantage of these birds is that even during the cold season, the crested do not refuse insects and continue their search in the forest. They turn to grain feed only in extreme cases when insects cannot be found at all. It is worth noting that the search for insects and larvae takes a very long time for the birds, however, they do not proceed to the grain until they are completely starved. If you decide to start a crested bird at home, you may have some difficulties with feeding, because the bird will need to be constantly given live food.

Hardships in winter


The worst time for crested tits is winter. This season they come to eat almost everything that comes across, since finding the insects or their larvae becomes almost impossible. While there is no serious cold, the chickens continue to search for live food, however, as soon as the temperature drops below -15 degrees, the tits begin to agree to any kind of food.

Also titmouses should build feeders for the period of winter, they will help them to protect themselves from frost. It is worth noting that in the winter titmouses are happily in the city, they are not afraid of a person and may even have it out of their hands. It is possible to build a feeding trough from improvised means, and it is absolutely not difficult to make it. It is enough to take an empty clean 5 liter water bottle and cut a wide opening in the side. At the bottom of the bottle you need to scatter the food for tits, and tie it to a tree branch outside on the neck. Place the feeder at a height of about 1-2 meters from the ground.

Do not forget that titmouses are very nimble birds. In winter, they can also fly between the frames, into the window leaf and feast on foods that are often stored in the winter on the window or behind it. They are happy to feast on lard, butter, sausage or cottage cheese. So, do not forget to tidy up the products.

What tits are most common in Russia

For a start, let's figure out what kind of bird we are talking about. There are very different types of tits, and their names are as follows:

  1. Great tit This is the one that most often catches the eye of citizens, since life in the megalopolises does not bother her at all.
  2. Blue Tit. You are unlikely to meet her in the city, because she has a habit of migrating, and besides, she ignores cities in principle.
  3. Moskovka. Most likely, you will not even understand that this is a tit - there is no blue color in it. Although in cities lives quite freely.
  4. Crested tit About her - the whole article, so far do not delve.
  5. White-headed tit. She is also very likely to meet - she avoids “human” places, and she also prefers swamps.
  6. Long-tailed tit. He likes river coasts, solitude and silence, so those who are not inclined to quiet journeys are unlikely to face it.
  7. Remez. Also a river bird, besides also a singing one. But the river and pretty wild is not the character that you can meet in an urban setting.

What does a crested tit look like?

This bird is very small, even smaller than a sparrow. The length of its body, even for the largest specimens, does not exceed 14 cm, and the span of both wings is 21st. The bird weighs a little and does not matter - from 9 to 14 grams. The top of this small calf is painted in a grayish-brown shade, and the bottom - in white, but not clean. A black stripe goes around the neck, the throat has the same color. But the main difference that the bird, the Crested Tit (pictured below) can boast, is an easily recognizable sharp tuft, decorated with specks of contrasting (white and black) colors.

Bird habitats

It should be noted that the crested tit traditionally lived only in the European north. Coniferous forests between the middle Volga and Arkhangelsk, Bashkiria, the east of the Caucasus - this is where it feels comfortable. But in recent years, its habitat has expanded significantly. Now it is found in other regions - mainly where there are conifers. Interestingly, the Khokhlushka came across to ornithologists and simply nature lovers even in Greece and Spain, although they honestly admitted that they were single specimens. This is where the bird Crested Crested bird lives (photo below).

The nature and habits of crested tit

It is distinguished by the advantages (or disadvantages - this is how to look), inherent in all birds of this genus. The crested tit is very mobile, impudent, cheerful, loves quarrels and fights, at the same time it has great courage and loves to climb. The bird's singing abilities are small, which often disappoints those who are trying to tame them, but any dove or peacock can envy the “seduction” poses the male takes during the hunt of the female.

Also of interest are the winter habits that the crested tit possesses - in the cold it unites with kings, pikas, tree-eagles, tits and travels under the watchful eye of the spotted woodpecker, which greatly increases the chances of survival.

Rescue bird

The crested tit, along with a convertible, is a natural sanitary orderly of coniferous forests. Its main advantage is that even in cold weather, it primarily searches for hibernating insects and only in their absence agrees to grain feed. By the way, such a diet is very annoying to the bird, because it requires many hours of searching, but until the crested bird is completely starved, it is looking for larvae or eggs of insects. This, by the way, can be a problem if you decide to keep such a bird at home - it needs mostly live food.

Winter problems

Worst of all feel any tits in the winter. And at this time they are not particularly picky - they eat what they come across. Of course, as long as the temperature is not too low, the same crested tit will look for wintering insects, but as soon as it drops to minus 15, it will agree to other food. People who want to help the winged in the cold should know that, in addition to the trivial grains, they can be given to the wards to support them, but not poison them. The best feeding will be unsalted lard, raw sunflower seeds, watermelon and pumpkin. If on New Year's Eve you bought a coconut, its shells will become a gift for tits - simply hanging them on a rope is enough. Note that bread or traditional millet tits do not eat, so that you will feed them with sparrows and pigeons. Sometimes, if there is nothing else, tits can be offered lean meat or raw bones.

For tits in the cold season, when snow falls and frost strikes, it is necessary to build feeders.

These cheerful representatives of the fauna often and with pleasure visit them, sometimes eating food even from the hands of man. Bird feeder to build is quite simple. It is necessary to cut into the empty five-liter plastic bottle from under the purified water a hole in the side part, which is rather wide. We pour blue food at the bottom of the feeder (see above what it can and cannot do), we tie a structure to the branch of a tree growing perpendicular to the ground at the height of one and a half to two meters at the neck. The improvised table for tits is ready!

Nimble birds look between the window frames and in the window, where people (especially the elderly) often store products in winter: cottage cheese, butter, lard, and sausage. And feast with great pleasure!

Spread

Habitat occupies a large part of the European continent from the Iberian Peninsula to the Urals, with the exception of northern Scandinavia, Italy, Asia Minor, Southeast Europe, southern regions of Great Britain and Greece. Grenadiers settle mainly in the zone of boreal and temperate climate.

In Russia, they are found up to the Arctic Circle. In Scotland, pine forests are inhabited, where the main forest tree is the pinia (Pinus pinea).

The southern boundary of the range passes through the south of Spain, France, the Alps, the Balkan Mountains and Ukraine. The Ukrainian population is common in the Carpathians, the forest and forest-steppe zone north of Cherkasy.

As a rule, crested tit is sedentary and does not show much interest in long-term migrations.

Northern populations usually migrate over short distances during the period of starvation.

Birds settle in coniferous and mixed forests, beech groves, gardens and city parks, where there is plenty of old trees and rotten wood. In Southern Europe, they are attracted primarily by thickets of rock (Quercus petraea) and Macedonian oak (Quercus trojana). They categorically avoid areas with deciduous plantings only.

According to various estimates, the total population size is estimated from 6 to 12 million nesting pairs, of which about 90 thousand nest in Ukraine. To date, known 7 subspecies. The nominative subspecies lives in Northern and Eastern Europe up to the Carpathians.

The flight of crested tit is fast, accompanied by fluttering wings of the wings. Singing consists of monosyllabic combinations of guttural sounds of different tonality, repeated in a certain sequence. She does not fear a person and can keep him close to her.

In the summer, insects (Insecta), arthropods (Arthropoda) and arachnids (Arachnida) predominate in the everyday menu, in winter and during the feeding of chicks, small seeds of various conifers.

In autumn crested tits gather in flocks of several dozen individuals, including with other species of songbirds.

Together they seek food and escape from predators. Food is collected mainly on the lower tiers of the forest. For the winter, birds make small stocks, hiding seeds in the cracks of tree bark or in the moss growing on trees.

Breeding

Grenadiers create monogamous couples, which is quite rare among small birds. Partners remain faithful until the death of one of the spouses.

Each pair occupies their home area. With sufficient food supply, it rarely leaves its borders. Depending on the availability of food, the area of ​​family lands varies from 5 to 30 hectares.

The nest is located in the hollow, which the female independently hollows in a rotten tree. It is located at an altitude of 1.5 m above the ground. A narrow hole with a diameter of up to 3 cm leads to the nesting chamber. Less commonly, a nest is built in stumps or in pits under the roots of trees and shrubs. В искусственных гнездовьях (скворечниках и синичниках) оно бывает очень редко.

Маленькое чашеобразное гнездо строится из травы, лыка и лишайников, утепляется шерстью, мехом и паутиной. Перышки в качестве утеплителя, как правило, не используются.

Брачный период проходит с апреля по июнь.

Самка сносит 5-7 яиц размером 12х16 мм. Они окрашены в белый цвет и покрыты многочисленными коричневато-красными пятнышками. Инкубация длится 15-18 дней. Самец в насиживании участия не принимает, но регулярно подкармливает свою супругу.

Chicks are born blind and naked, so they need long parental care. The hatched chicks are fed by both parents for 18-21 days in invertebrate animals. After that, they become on the wing, but remain dependent for about three weeks.

During one season there is one clutch. In case of loss, the female lays eggs again.

The body length of adults is 11–12 cm, the wingspan is 16–20 cm. On average, males weigh 11.5 g, and females 10.8 g.

The head is decorated with a pointed black and white tuft sticking up. White lines and whitish rings are visible on white cheeks, and a wide black tie is on the chest.

The back is beige-brown, the wings and tail are gray-brown, the sides are brown. The abdomen is lighter, beige and white. In females and juveniles, the crest is smaller and less contrasting colored.

The iris is brown. The limbs are dark gray. Three fingers are directed forward and one back.

Life expectancy of crested tit in natural conditions is 2-3 months.

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