Crested Tit-warbler

Crested Tit-warbler Leptopoecile elegans is one of only two members of genus Leptopoecile. Both ssp. in China: Nominate from Qinghai east to Helan Mountains in Inner Mongolia and Ningxia and south to Qilian Mountains in Gansu and through western Sichuan, and meissneri southeastern Tibet. HABITAT & BEHAVIOR Coniferous forest to 4300 m (14,110 ft.), in winter to 2800 m (9,190 ft.). Often in small flocks, sometimes mixed. ID & COMPARISON Colorful bird of the high country. Male has white forehead, crown, and crest, with some lilac tinge to crown. Lores black. Rest of head deep reddish-brown. Mantle azure; wings, rump, and tail more towards cyan. Breast reddish-brown (paler than head), belly buff with violet tinge on flanks, vent cinnamon. Female duller than male, with prominent dark eye-stripe reaching toward nape, a white throat and upper breast, grey cheeks and crown, and a crest white at rear. White-browed tit-warbler lacks crest and has reddish-brown crown, a prominent white eyebrow, and white outer tail feathers. Iris dark red; bill, feet black. Soft calls and chatter. — Craig Brelsford

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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