It occurs from north western Szechuan province in China westwards to Tibet in open, grass steppe type country or sometimes arid regions with small scattered shrubs. It avoids anywhere that has dense vegetation, especially trees.
Food is obtained on the ground and includes a wide range of insect prey often obtained by probing wild Yak dung and turning it over to flush them out. It peers into rock crevices and into holes in the ground also in it's search for food. If chased, it will bolt straight down the nearest hole (very un-birdlike behaviour) until the danger has passed, usually caused by a bird of prey.
The nest is also unusual in being in a tunnel which the bird(s) excavate themselves. It is usually dug horizontally into a bank or wall of earth and can reach a depth of up to 1.8 metres. The nest is placed at the end of this in a small chamber and consists usually of just wool placed onto a grass base. The 4-6 eggs are pure white and the young stay with their parents for some time after fledging.
The voice is described as a plaintive whistling, cheep-cheep-cheep-cheep and it also has a two syllable Finch-like call.
This species has only recently been removed from the Crow family and placed into the Tit family (Paridae)''.