Tufted titmouse

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Tufted titmouse
Baeolophus bicolor 15.jpeg
Adult singing
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Paridae
Genus: Baeolophus
B. bicolor
Binomial name
Baeolophus bicolor
(Linnaeus, 1766)
Tufted Titmouse-rangemap.gif
Combined range of tufted titmouse and black-crested titmouse

Parus bicolor Linnaeus, 1766

The tufted titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) is a small songbird from North America, a species in the tit and chickadee family (Paridae). Relatively "larger than a chickadee",[2] the black-crested titmouse, found from central and southern Texas southwards, was included as a subspecies but is now considered a separate species (Baeolophus atricristatus).[3]

These small birds are approximately 6 inches in length, with a white front, and grey upper body outlined with rust colored flanks. Other characteristics include their black forehead, and the tufted grey crest on their head.[4]

The song of the tufted titmouse is usually described as a whistled peter-peter-peter, though this song can vary in approximately 20 notable ways.[5]

The bird's habitat is deciduous and mixed woods as well as gardens, parks and shrublands. Though the tufted titmouse is non-migratory and originally native to Ohio and Mississippi, factors such as bird feeders have caused these birds to occupy a larger amount of territory across the United States and stretching into Ontario, Canada.[4][6] From 1966 - 2015 the tufted titmouse population has increased by more than 1.5% per year throughout the northeastern US, Michigan and Wisconsin.[7]

The tufted titmouse forages on branches and sometimes on the ground. It eats mainly insects, especially caterpillars, but also seeds, nuts, and berries, and will store food for later use. It can be curious about humans and will sometimes perch on a window ledge and seem to be peering into the house. It is a regular visitor around bird feeders. Its normal pattern is to scout a feeder from cover, fly in to take a seed, then fly back to cover to eat it.[citation needed]

Tufted titmice nest in a hole in a tree, either a natural cavity, a man-made nest box, or sometimes an old woodpecker nest.[8] They line the nest with soft materials, sometimes plucking hair from a live animal such as a dog.[9] If they find shed snake skin, they will try to incorporate pieces of it in their nest.[10] Their eggs are under an inch long and are white or cream-colored with brownish or purplish spots.[citation needed]

The lifespan of the tufted titmouse is approximately 2.1 years, though they can live for more than 10 years.[11] These birds will on average have a clutch size of 5 to 7 eggs.[12] Unlike many birds, the offspring of tufted titmice will often stay with their parents during the winter, and even after the first year of their life.[13] Sometimes, a bird born the year before will help its parents raise the next year's young.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Baeolophus bicolor". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Tufted Titmouse Identification". Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  3. ^ "43rd Supplement". American Ornithological Society. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b McCommons, James (2003). "Tufted Titmouse". Emmaus. 50: 16 – via ProQuest.
  5. ^ Grubb, Thomas C. (1998). Tufted Titmouse. Stackpole Books. ISBN 9780811729673.
  6. ^ "Tufted Titmouse" (PDF). Ohio Birds. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Tufted & Black-crest. Titmou Baeolophus bicolor / atricrista". Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  8. ^ Laskey, Amelia. "Some Tufted Titmouse Life Historu" (PDF). Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Tufted Titmouse, Audubon Field Guide". 13 November 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  10. ^ Medlin, Elizabeth C.; Risch, Thomas S. (2006). "AN EXPERIMENTAL TEST OF SNAKE SKIN USE TO DETER NEST PREDATION". The Condor. 108 (4): 963. doi:10.1650/0010-5422(2006)108[963:aetoss]2.0.co;2. ISSN 0010-5422. Lay summary.
  11. ^ Elder, William H. (1985). "Survivorship in the Tufted Titmouse" (PDF). Wilson Bull. 97: 517–524 – via ProQuest.
  12. ^ Laskey, Amelia R. (July 1957). "Some Tufted Titmouse Life History" (PDF). Bird Banding. 28 (3): 135–145. doi:10.2307/4510633. JSTOR 4510633 – via ProQuest.
  13. ^ Pravosudova, Elena V.; Grubb, Thomas C.; Parker, Patricia G.; Doherty, Paul F. (1999). "Patch Size and Composition of Social Groups in Wintering Tufted Titmice". The Auk. 116 (4): 1152–1155. doi:10.2307/4089699. JSTOR 4089699.

External links[edit]