Feb 19 2010

Anatomy: Crest

Published by at 7:06 am under Bird Anatomy

Juvenile Crested Caracara (photo by Chuck Tague, altered to highlight its crest)The word “crest” describes a lot of things —  the crest of a hill, the crest of a wave, the crest on a helmet, the crest of a roof — but its primary meaning is “a comb or tuft on a bird’s head.” 

Blue jays, tufted titmice and northern cardinals have noticeable crests that they raise or lower depending on their mood.  Most of the time their crests appear to be in the “up” position but a really excited cardinal can raise its crest even further, as shown at this link.

Some birds have “crest” in their names.  This is an immature crested caracara, a Central and South American bird that also lives in Texas and Florida.  (I can tell it’s immature because of its brown plumage and pink cere.)

The crest, indicated by an arrow, looks almost like long flowing hair.  When a crested caracara gets excited the “hair” stands up on the back of his head. 

After Chuck took his picture, this bird got excited and raised his crest.  He looked so funny I nearly laughed.  Click on his photo to see why.

(photos by Chuck Tague)

One response so far

One Response to “Anatomy: Crest”

  1. faith Cornellon 19 Feb 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Hooray for me; this is the first term you have used that I knew. Never too late to learn the new ones though. Faith Cornell

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