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Crested Tit-Warbler - BirdForum Opus

Photo by 2x Dave2x
Gansu, China, June 2017
Leptopoecile elegans


10cm (4 in). A tiny, crested bird with a relatively long tail.


  • Red eye with blackish eyeline
  • Chestnut head
  • Paler rufous breast
  • Lavender flanks and went, whitish centre of belly
  • Azure-blue wings and tail
  • Whitish crown with pointed crest (often folded)
  • Blue mantle
Photo by James Eaton
Mengbi Shan, Sichuan, China


  • Chestnut mantle, upperwing-coverts and flanks
  • White face, throat and breast

Juveniles are similar to adults of respective sex but they lack the crest, are duller overall and dark grey above.


Endemic to China where found in Qinghai, southern Nei Mongol, Ningxia and Gansu to southeast Tibet and Sichuan. Possible occurence in northeast India needs reconfirmation.
Generally uncommon.


This is a monotypic species[1].

Subspecies meissneri is not recognised by most authorities[2].


Boreal forests. Outside breeding season also in scrub.
Found from 3400 to 4300m in summer, 2600 to 3900m in winter.



Feeds on insects.
Forages high in trees like a Nuthatch or a Firecrest.
Joins occasionally mixed-species flocks with Willow Tit, White-browed Tit-Warbler and Goldcrest.


Breeding poorly known. One recorded nest was ca. 15m up in a conifer.


Movements also poorly known. Birds from the northern part of range might be migratory. Some seasonal altitudinal movements recorded.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2008. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 13: Penduline-tits to Shrikes. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553453
  4. Rasmussen, PC and JC Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: The Ripley Guide. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334672

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