Small, active tit. Combination of large black bib, white wingbars, and broad white stripe on nape distinctive. Dazzling geographic variation: Himalayan and Chinese birds have a small, spiffy crest; north African birds have stained yellow cheeks; European and Siberian birds dullest overall, crestless and with buffy flanks. Inhabits coniferous and mixed woodland, forest, parks, and gardens; visits bird feeders. Associated with foothills and montane areas throughout much of its eastern range. Often joins mixed-species flocks in autumn and winter, moving quickly through the foliage and giving high-pitched calls. Up-and-down song varies across range. Compare with slightly larger and chunkier Marsh Tit and Willow Tit, which have bigger white cheek patches, drabber overall plumage, and different voices.
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