Brilliant Bird Crest Facts That Won't Ruffle Any Feathers!

Anusuya Mukherjee
Oct 23, 2023 By Anusuya Mukherjee
Originally Published on Nov 04, 2021
what and how crests really are
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.8 Min

A crest is a bunch of long tufted feathers that can be found at the top or towards the back of the head of a bird.

It is an open and well-known fact that a bird feather crest can be of many colors such as black, blue, red, or white. The feathers of a crest are long and can either be slicked back or spiked up.

There are several species of birds that have a crest on their head. A bird with a feathered crest looks extremely beautiful.

Some of the famous crested birds are sulphur-crested cockatoo; tufted titmouse - a small bird with a crest on the head; crowned crane; red-crested turaco - a bird with a red crest; great crested grebe; peacock - a bird with a fanlike crest; quail crest bird; great crested flycatcher; and more.

Almost every family of birds has a red crest bird. The nature of the crests varies from species to species. Crests have a number of uses for birds. Let’s find out all we can about crests in birds and their uses in a bird with a red crest or a small bird with crest on head.

After you have read about the crown on a bird's head, do check birds of North Carolina and birds of Colorado.

What is a crest on a bird?

The family of birds is very large. There are numerous species each possessing special characteristics. One of the common characteristics present among birds is the crest. A crest is present on several species of birds. Some species present a crest only during the mating season while others have it around the year.

Cockatoo and related species of birds are examples of birds that have crests. Crests are made up of feathers. Some features of crests are noticeable and recognizable even from long distances. A crest is usually located on the heads of the birds. Most crests are very beautiful to look at.

Feathers of some crests are malleable, that is, they can be easily bent by wind or other force. While some other crests are tough and strong; they do not budge unless much force is exerted.

The size, shape, length, breadth, thickness, color, and other features of a crest change from species to species. Some birds have thick and dense crests but others have very feeble and thin ones. Feathers of some crests can stand individually without the support of others.

Do female birds have crests?

Now that we have understood what and how crests really are, let's dive a little deeper and find out whether both males and females have crests. There is a wide rumor that only males of bird species have crests while females are crestless.

That is totally not true. Generally, there are few species whose females have crests, but they do exist.

Yes, female birds have crest feathers. They are openly visible at the top of their heads.

Crests are usually more colorful than the rest of the body. The crests of females appear to be lighter and shorter than the crest of males; they are not as distinct as in the male birds of the species.

That is why many people are of the belief that female birds do not have crests. Many a time, crests are mistaken to be crowns, combs, casques, wattles, ear tufts, and the like. But that is completely wrong.

Crests are much different than any of those body parts. Amid all the misunderstanding, it sometimes goes unheard that some female birds too are proud possessors of crests.

Sulphur crested cockatoo walking along a branch

How Birds Use Crests

Each species of bird has a different use for crests.

Some birds are known to change the color of their crests to indicate or show certain feelings. Birds display their crests to the members of their own species as well as others to communicate things. Some birds even communicate with their predators via crests. Crests are thus a very useful part of the body for these birds.

Some species display crests only during the breeding season. They use their crest to display their readiness for mating to their counterparts. Birds have found several means to communicate with each other but for crested birds, crests remain to be a primary method of communication. They use their crests in courtship displays to attract mates.

Crests are also used by crested birds to communicate about their surroundings. When they encounter danger, crests can act as a silent method of communication within the species. Certain birds use their crests as a display for dominance, especially males who will invite other males to fight with them over food, territory, or mates.

What does it mean when the crest of a bird rises?

Birds raise their crests for a number of reasons. The most common of which is communication. A raised crest means a number of different things in different species of birds.

Right from expressing happiness to fighting danger, a raised crest is a common occurrence among birds having crests. Some of these birds have different postures of crests for indicating different things which are only understood by birds within their species.

Crests of birds are most prominent during the breeding season. They look more beautiful and attractive. A raised crest is a courtship display for many species of birds. Males raise their crests to attract females and persuade them to mate.

Some birds raise their crest when they feel a scratch on their head. It allows any dust, if entered, to be flown out of their crests by the wind. A raised crest is a symbol of happiness in most bird species.

Birds raise their crest when they are dancing or having fun. A crested bird often reacts to unusual sounds with a raised crest. Only on close observation can one tell definitely the reason behind the raised crest of a bird.

What body part of a bird is the crest?

A crest of a bird is a prominent feature of its body. Most crests are made up of beautiful bird feathers.

In many species, the feathers of the crest have a color similar to the necks of the birds. Some birds look incomplete without a crest, and would surely feel so too. The crests prove to be an important part of the body for all crested birds.

Crests usually originate at the back of the heads of the birds. The beautiful feathers take green, blue, white, black, orange, yellow, any and all colors from the backs and necks of the birds. Birds usually flip their crests backward so that they do not fall on their eyes.

It looks like the crests are situated exactly at the top of their heads, just like crowns. It is important to note that crowned birds are different as compared to crested birds. Crowns cannot be used as a method of communication but crests can be.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for bird crest then why not take a look at birds that eat mosquitoes, or, are birds cold-blooded?

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Written by Anusuya Mukherjee

Bachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

Anusuya Mukherjee picture

Anusuya MukherjeeBachelor of Arts and Law specializing in Political Science and Intellectual Property Rights

With a wealth of international experience spanning Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East, Anusuya brings a unique perspective to her work as a Content Assistant and Content Updating Coordinator. She holds a law degree from India and has practiced law in India and Kuwait. Anusuya is a fan of rap music and enjoys a good cup of coffee in her free time. Currently, she is working on her novel, "Mr. Ivory Merchant".

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