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,[3] was included as a subspecies but is now considered a separate species (Baeolophus atricristatus).[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]

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.[5][7] From 1966 - 2015 the tufted titmouse population has increased by more than 1.5% per year throughout the northeastern US, Michigan and Wisconsin.[8]

The tufted titmouse gathers food form the ground, twigs and branches "of trees". They eat berries, nuts, insects, small fruit, snails and seeds with caterpillars being a major part of their diet during the summer. Titmice will hide food for later use.[9] They 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.[10] 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.[11] They line the nest with soft materials, sometimes plucking hair from a live animal such as a dog.[12] If they find shed snake skin, they will try to incorporate pieces of it in their nest.[13] Their eggs are under an 1 inch (2.5 centimetres) long and are white or cream-colored with brownish or purplish spots.[14]

The lifespan of the tufted titmouse is approximately 2.1 years, though they can live for more than 10 years.[15] These birds will on average have a clutch size of 5 to 7 eggs.[16] 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.[17] Sometimes, a bird born the year before will help its parents raise the next year's young.[18]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Baeolophus bicolor". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Tufted Titmouse Identification". Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  3. ^ Kaufman, Kenn. "Black-crested Titmouse". National Audubon Society. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  4. ^ "Forty-Third Supplement to The American Ornithologists' Union Check-List of North American Birds". American Ornithological Society. 1 July 2002. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  5. ^ a b McCommons, James (2003). "Tufted Titmouse". Emmaus. 50: 16. ProQuest 203733124.
  6. ^ Grubb, Thomas C. (1998). Tufted Titmouse. Stackpole Books. ISBN 9780811729673.
  7. ^ "Tufted Titmouse" (PDF). Ohio Birds. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Tufted & Black-crest. Titmou Baeolophus bicolor / atricrista". Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Tufted Titmouse - Diet". National Audubon Society. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  10. ^ Montgomery, Sy. "Titmouse". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  11. ^ Laskey, Amelia. "Some Tufted Titmouse Life Historu" (PDF). Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Tufted Titmouse, Audubon Field Guide". 13 November 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "Common Nesting birds - Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)". Nest Watch. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  15. ^ Elder, William H. (1985). "Survivorship in the Tufted Titmouse" (PDF). Wilson Bull. 97: 517–524 – via ProQuest.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ "All About Birds - Tufted Titmouse". Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved 13 October 2019.

External links[edit]