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10 Birds with Crested Heads


Have you ever seen birds with crested heads? A crest is a tuft of feathers that sticks up from the top of a bird’s head. Some birds have very small crests, while others have quite large crests. In this article, we will look at some birds with crested heads.

We will learn about the different types of crests and find out why these birds have them. We will also discuss the benefits of having a crest. 

Stellar’s Jay and Crested caracara are two birds with crested heads. However, there’re many more, and we’ll talk about them in detail. One fascinating fact is that these birds are small and come in various colors.

Overall, the appearance of tiny birds with a crest on their heads is fantastic. Many bird enthusiasts around the world love to find out about these birds. So, keep reading to learn more about the birds you love.

10 Examples of Birds with Crested Heads?

There’s something regal about birds with crested heads. Perhaps it’s the air of sophistication that comes with having a plume of feathers adorning one’s head, or maybe it’s the air of mystery surrounding these creatures. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that birds with crested heads are some of the most striking and elegant creatures in the animal kingdom. 

From the brightly-colored Stellar Jay to the majestic Blue Jay, these birds will surely captivate anyone who sees them. So, next time you’re out birdwatching, keep an eye out for these stunning creatures.


1. Great-Crested Flycatcher

Great-Crested Flycatcher Birds with Crested Heads
Photo by: Mykola Swarnyk

Great-Crested Flycatcher comes with a brown crest. In addition, these birds got a colorful body with a gray-colored throat and head. However, they look more impressive due to their yellow belly. So, overall the great-crested flycatchers are excellent birds with crested heads.

Apart from that, this bird is found mainly in the eastern part of the United States. They also live on woodlands and love to eat insects from the ground. Their size is small and looks adorable to bird lovers worldwide.

2. Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker facing back looking for food

The pileated bird woodpecker is one of the best woodpecker birds available worldwide. With a red crest, their appearance is fantastic. A remarkable fact is that these birds have a red crest for both the female and male types. Also, the male ones have red color strike along the cheeks, which is black and white in the case of females.

These birds are usually more significant than the other birds with crested heads. Their average length is around 15-20 cm long. However, note that the pileated woodpecker is native to Northern America and the largest woodpecker in the region. This species is found in coniferous forests, prairie, and shrublands.

3. Stellar’s Jay

Stellar’s Jay
Photo by: Ingrid Taylar

Stellar’s Jay is one of the big birds with crested heads. It has an average size ranging from 11 to 13 inches. With their blue crest, they’re amazing to watch.

Different parts of the USA, including Washington and Nevada, have seen many of these birds. However, in New Mexico, these birds are seen during the migration season. Sometimes people confuse the Stellar Jay with Blue Jay due to their similar appearance and size. However, the Stellar’s Jay is a bit big comparatively.

4. Crested Caracara

Crested Caracara Birds with Crested Heads

Native to Central America mostly, the crested caracara is also found in South America. This bird comes with a black crest and a white neck.

However, their yellowish-orange legs make them a colorful bird to watch. Unlike the other crested birds, this one loves to fly in lower and open regions. Overall, this is a comparatively more giant bird-like, some falcon type. The size ranges from around 19 to 22.5 cm long.

Note that, to build its nest, the crested caracara goes hunting for building materials instead of occupying an existing nest or laying eggs on the ground.

5. Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal perched on a branch with leaves

Northern Cardinal has a red crest that complements the rest of its red plumage. A northern cardinal is one of the best birds with crested heads. A female northern cardinal has a crimson crest and brown body on the other side. The tails of both sexes are lengthy.

Northern cardinals inhabit both the eastern and southern parts of the United States. They can be found resting on bushes or searching for insects. They’re about the size of a robin’s body. The size ranges from 8 to 9.5 inches long. Overall, they’re a bit smaller than most crested birds worldwide.

6. Black Crested Titmouse

Birds with Crested Heads

The black-crested titmouse is just like the tufted titmouse. These birds are the cousins of the tufted titmouse. But, as the name goes, the crest of these birds is black. Black-crested titmouse lives in the woodlands and usually flies in smaller groups. They love to feed on insects from the grounds and bugs from trees.

However, they’re found easily in some parts of the USA, including Oklahoma and Texas. Also, they’ve been spotted in Mexico during the migration season.

One key difference between them and the tufted titmouse is the size of the crest. A tufted titmouse’s plumage or crest size is usually longer than the black-crested titmouse.

7.Tufted Titmouse

Birds with Crested Heads

The tufted titmouse has a large crest and has the same black color as the black-crested titmouse. They’re not usually flying in pairs. But, during the breeding season, you’ll only see a couple roaming together.

These birds are found in woodlands and love to feast on insects from the trees. Also, they’re one of the few birds that easily adapt to bird feeders in your backyard.

In terms of size, they’re a bit smaller than the black-crested titmouse. The length ranges from around 6 to 8 inches only. Usually, they can live in a nest box in the backyards of different woodlands and residences, and they won’t complain if you’re liberal with seeds.

8. Cedar Waxwing

Cedar Waxwing

A cedar waxwing is one of the colorful birds with crested heads. It has a pale brown crest that’s brushed backward. Along with the yellow belly and gray wings, the colorfulness of these birds is adorable to many.

A native tree with small fruits is what you need to have in your yard if you want some of these birds at your place. You can grow cedar, dogwood, or juniper in your backyard accordingly. The size of the cedar waxwing ranges from 6 to 7 inches. So, the size is similar to that of a sparrow or robin. Note that they take about five days to build their nest.

9. Double-Crested Cormorant

Ddouble-Crested Cormorant

The double-crested cormorant has an average size ranges from 27 to 36 inches. The USA is home to a wide range of double-crested cormorants. The hatching cormorant community is located in the northern part of the USA. On the other hand, migratory birds are found in the center part of the country.

These birds have a long body with a snake-like neck. The crest on their heads is prominent, and it stands out, even more, when the cormorants are breeding. Usually, these birds spend most of their time in water bodies like lakes or ponds.

In terms of appearance, these birds look more like ducks than other crested birds on this list. Even though they’re quite big, they can fly around 25 miles per hour.So, you will always find the double-crested cormorant in the United States. These birds live close to birds that rely on wetlands as a bonus.

10. Blue Jay

Blue Jay

Like the Stellar’s Jay, the Blue Jay birds also have a blue crest like that one. However, you might notice that the plumage of these birds has a black line that looks like a necklace.

The overall blue color of these birds is what makes them attractive. The beautiful blue plumage and the crest are two significant features of the Blue Jay. These birds are one of the common backyard birds in North America. You can find them in different parts of Mexico and Canada as well.

Some people think that crested birds are rare. But that’s not true at all. There are many types of crested birds found all over the world. Each continent has its variety of these birds.

However, the Blue Jay is comparatively bigger than Stellar’s Jay. The size ranges from 9.5 to 11.9 inches. It’s one of those backyard birds that love eating seeds and nuts.

So, if you live in the western parts of the USA, try throwing some seeds in your backyard. Then, if you’re lucky, you might be able to see some of these birds around your home.

Final Words

Crested birds are found in different parts of the world. Some of them are quite common, while others are rare. If you want to see some of these birds with crested heads in your backyard, throw some seeds around.

You never know when one of these beautiful creatures might show up! Still, if you have any questions regarding these birds, feel free to ask in the comments below. 

Interesting articles:

Other related asks

While reading about birds with crested heads, you might have some questions unanswered. So, we plan to answer the three most common questions about birds with crests.

Read the question and answers to clear any additional doubts on the topic.

Do All Birds Have Crests?

Well, not all birds have crests. Some birds might have a variety of colors on their head that look like a crown or crest. But they don’t all have plumages.

But, the notable birds with crests have been mentioned in our article above. However, note that some crested birds are at risk of extinction.

So, previously many bird species might have had crests. But we don’t see them anymore. So, for example, black and gray crowned birds are in danger of extinction.

We should take care of nature and birds, so we don’t see any birds getting extinct.

What does it mean when a Bird is crested?

A line of feathers of various colors is what we know as a crest. So, when you see a bird with an array of feathers on the top of its head, they’re crested birds.

Blue Jay, Stellar’s Jay, and Cedar Waxwing are some examples of birds with crested heads.

What bird has a pointed crest on its head?

The tufted titmouse is a bird with a pointed crest on its head.

These birds have large necks and eyes and are notable in different parts of the USA.

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