The only crested tit in most of its range. Upperparts are yellowish green, with black wings that have two lines of yellowish-white speckles. Forehead, crown, and crest are black; nape is yellow, extending upward to the tips of the crest feathers. A prominent yellow eyebrow starts just before the eye and flares behind it, before merging into the yellow of the nape. Similarly, the black eye-stripe merges with the black on the sides of the neck. A broad black central stripe runs from throat to vent. The prominent yellow cheek extends down and grades into the olive of the flanks. Females and juveniles are duller, with shorter crests, central stripe thinner and incomplete, and yellowish parts becoming dull white. A bird of the hills, it is most abundant between 500 meters and 1800 meters of elevation, but rarely descends to lower elevations. Seen in pairs or family groups, often joining mixed-species foraging flocks in the non-breeding season. Forages in the canopy, emitting loud whistles and harsh chatters.