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Crested Birds: Fabulous Species With Novel & Colorful Crowns

Last Updated on: February 9, 2024

Aside from their plumages and eyes, the crest of a bird is also a very interesting part.


What is it exactly about their crests that makes it interesting?

That’s what we’ll talk about today! To give you a little tease, these birds can raise and lower their crests as a form of communication.

There’s more of where that came from!

If you want to see birds with an assortment of large and small crests, take a moment to read the content below.

Top 14 Crested Bird Species

The bird crest is a collection of feathers on its head, commonly known as a crown, that is utilized for mating and communication. 

The crest of birds can be enormous and dramatic, like that of a Secretary Bird, or modest and tufted, like that of Double-Crested Cormorants.

Males tend to use their crests to attract mates and communicate when threatened or excited. Their crests may be visible at all times or may lie flat on their heads.

Listed below are birds with head crests:

1. Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Blue Jays are widespread over North America. They’re the only bird that can be found year-round in all 50 states, and they can be found from California to Canada. 

The striking blue crest and black neck feathers distinguish the blue jay. 

Their preferred habitat is woodland edges, scrubby areas, suburban areas, and farms.

Pine nuts, berries, insects, eggs, and chicks from other birds make up the diet of these small crested birds. Blue Jay’s frequent bird feeders, where they eat sunflower seeds, peanuts, safflower seeds, and mixed seed mixes. 

During their migratory season, which begins in late March, Blue Jays can be observed soaring across fields in search of food.

2. Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpeckers are native to North America and have been spotted in Colorado, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, New York State, Texas, and Virginia, among other places. 

Deciduous forests, woodland borders, urban parks, and suburban areas are all good places to look for them. 

They use their sharp beaks to drill into trees to find insects such as ants or beetle larvae, or any other ground-based insect that they can find, as well as small mammals and small fruits.

With a body length of 16-18 inches and a wingspan of 27-30 inches, they are the largest woodpecker in the United States. 

They have a big red crest on their heads and black and white stripes on the face and down the neck. 

These large birds with head crests are notorious for their territorial trait in terms of nesting and feeding areas.

3. Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

This bird is a beautiful water bird that dwells in Europe’s shallow water basins. 

The Great Crested Grebe is the largest member of the grebe family in Europe. The long neck, big beak, and unique black crest with orange tippets distinguish this enormous bird. 

Both male and female grebes have this magnificent crown of feathers.

Their courtship and beautiful head plumes make these birds popular.

A female and male bird approach each other with weeds on their bills as the breeding season starts in the summer. After that, they lift and shake their lovely black crest. 

It’s one of the most stunning courtship displays in the avian kingdom.

4. Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

This lovely bird is known as a Cedar Waxwing. With a facemask, tufted, and pointed crest, it’s mostly brown, gray, and yellow. 

The breeding range of this species of bird stretches from Alaska to the East Coast of North America, as well as parts of Asia. In Canada, they are non-migratory and have breeding seasons from May to July. They are common in North America in the winter when they eat the berries of Evergreen trees like junipers.

Berries and insects are the Cedar Waxwing’s diet. This helps them keep their body weight up during the winter season when food sources are insufficient.

During the winter season of October to April, these birds can be found in deciduous forests, orchards, parks, and gardens before migrating south to warmer areas in Southern Mexico, Central America and South America, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

5. Steller’s Jay

Steller’s Jay

Steller’s Jays are large songbirds with protruding black triangular crests on their heads. The rest of their bodies are blue, except for their heads, chests, and backs, which are all black.

They can be found in the evergreen forests of the mountains, as well as around picnic tables.

Insects, seeds, nuts, berries, eggs, and nestlings are among the items eaten by Steller’s Jays, however, they can be a problem if they come into contact with rubbish or an unattended picnic.

Their nests are made from a home bird feeder and campsite mud.

6. Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

The bright red male Northern Cardinal with the black around his face stands out against the white winter background. 

With their brown coloring, pointed brown crest, red accents, and red beaks, the females are likewise a little spectacular. In North America, they are common visitors as backyard birds.

During the breeding season, Northern Cardinals will occasionally attack their reflections to fiercely protect their territories.

7. Harpy Eagle

Harpy Eagle

The Harpy Eagle sometimes referred to be the world’s largest bird eagle along with the Philippine Eagle and Steller’s Eagle, is a rare and spectacular sight.

Due to its distant home, the Harpy Eagle, Panama’s national bird, is rarely seen.

Harpy Eagles are easily identified by their long dark gray crest feathers that stand up when they are threatened. With striped legs and a paler gray head, they are dark gray on the back and a largely white underbelly. The beaks of these birds with crested heads are big, hooked, and black.

8. Golden Pheasant

Golden Pheasant

Golden pheasants, endemic to West and Central China, are one of the most beautiful birds on the planet. Male pheasants are more colorful than female pheasants. The female bird has a drab brown hue, whilst the male bird has a lovely color combination.

A male pheasant’s stunning crest is the most striking feature, despite his colorful plumage. Their golden-yellow crest feathers are large and stretch the length of their neck.

Red underparts, a brilliant yellow wattle, green upper backs, golden rumps, and long brown tail feathers distinguish a golden pheasant. The long tails of male golden pheasants account for two-thirds of the birds’ total length.

9. Grey Crowned Crane

Grey Crowned Crane

The Grey-Crowned Crane is a huge bird that inhabits the marshes and grasslands of Eastern and Southern Africa. It is Uganda’s National Bird. 

This large bird is mostly gray in appearance and has a magnificent crown, as its name suggests. They also have a bright crimson pouch around their throat.

Their wings are black and white. The cap or crest, which has magnificent golden-colored feathers, is probably the most gorgeous portion. 

This large bird can measure over 3 feet tall or 1 meter and 7.7 pounds or 3.5 kilograms in weight.

10. Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

The Tufted Titmouse is a charming tiny bird found in the eastern United States. 

They are smaller birds than others, and you might not notice them when they flutter around your yard, but don’t be fooled by their cute appearance. 

​​​Tufted Titmice are distinguished by their short beaks and fluffy, tufted crowns, which give them a “fuzzy” appearance. 

Deciduous woods, woodland borders, hedgerows, parks, suburban gardens, and open woodlands with rich understory vegetation are among their favored habitats. Ants, beetles, spiders, and crickets are among the invertebrates eaten by the Tufted Titmouse. They also eat seeds of grass or acorn, which they crack apart with their beaks to get at the seed inside.

During the winter months, when food is scarce, titmice can be spotted in residential neighborhoods and other man-made environments.

11. Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo, found in the wooded areas of Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia, is one of the most beautiful parrot species on the planet.

As you may assume from its name, this lovely bird has a sulfur-yellow crown of feathers.

The yellow crest of the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo contrasts with the yellow highlights on the wing and long tail.

The body feathers of this cockatoo are white. The large gray bill and black oval eyes of a Sulfur Crested Cockatoo are extremely appealing.

Cockatoos, both male, and female share similar appearances. They have a lengthy lifespan and are extremely intelligent birds.

12. Black Crested Titmouse

Black Crested Titmouse

These small birds with crested heads are a close relative of the tufted titmouse, with similar plumage hues. 

The two birds sound different, with the tufted making high-pitched rapid calls and the black-crested uttering nasal noises.

The black-crested develops to 5.9 inches in length, whilst the tufted bird can grow to be between 5.5 and 6.3 inches long. These species have black crests and a pale forehead, so you’ll be able to tell them apart quickly.

13. Eurasian Hoopoes

Eurasian Hoopoes

The big head show is enhanced by the black tips on the head feathers. There are nine subspecies of Eurasian Hoopoes, which reside in Europe, Asia, and North Africa.

A beak of a Eurasian Hoopoe is long, robust, and sharp, and it has unusually strong muscles that allow it to open its bill when it is on the Earth.

14. Oak Titmouse

Oak Titmouse

When threatened, the Oak Titmice lower and raise their tufted crest. 

These small birds prefer to live in the dense forests and mixed woodlands throughout North America and eat insects, seeds, berries, and acorns. Oak Titmice eat fruits and blossoms from low-hanging branches, as well as fruits and nuts from tree limbs.

Males and females of these birds with crests on their heads are difficult to distinguish since they seem so similar. Oak Titmice have a call of “tsee tsee tsee,” which is used to warn other predator birds nearby. The sound they make becomes more intense as they feel more threatened.

They’re only found in parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Kentucky.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are bird crests and their purpose?

Crests are the feathers that may be lifted and lowered on a bird’s head, usually to express information. It could be used to convey a threat or a protective stance.

When is the breeding season of the Great Crested Grebe?

Great crested grebes only reproduce once a year. These crested birds breed from January to August.

Do all birds have crests?

No, they don’t all have crest feathers. Other birds with crests listed above can be found in the United States. 

Some are migratory, so you’ll see them in the wild depending on the season. Many species, however, can be found in different parts of the planet.


A bird’s crest, no matter how little it appears, cannot be unnoticed. The extra feathers and colors on crowns are fashionable for even birds like titmice. Birds with crests on head like the secretary bird, double crested cormorant, red whiskered bulbul, ruby crowned kinglet, and other varieties should be expected once you venture out.

They are for our enjoyment. Crests help birds in communicating with one another. This characteristic is seen in various avian families and groups. Arranging a tour around it means you’ll see woodpeckers, cranes, grebes, and so on.

How many birds with crests have you found?

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