Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor
Sound (257 KB)
6.25 inches (16 cm)
• Gray crest, nape and back
• Black forehead
• Buffy flanks
• White underparts
• Short bill
• Gray crest
• Dark forehead
• Pale gray upperparts
• White underparts
• Rusty flanks
• Birds from central and southern Texas (formerly a separate species, Black-crested Titmouse) have black crests and pale foreheads
• Sexes similar
• Often found in small flocks
• The Tufted Titmouse is similar to the Plain Titmouse but has rusty flanks and a black forehead (or crest).
Deciduous woodlands, suburbs, villages, parks, mesquite. Common, conspicuous and tame. Will come to feeders. Usually seen in small mixed flocks with chickadees and other species following the breeding season.
NESTING & FEEDING:
BREEDING: Forest, woodland, scrub, parks; from deciduous and mixed deciduous-coniferous woodland in n e to oak-juniper scrub, mesquite and riparian woodland in s w. 1 brood, 2 in s. Mating system is monogamous.
DISPLAYS: Courtship: simple pursuit of female by male.
NEST: In natural or woodpecker-excavated cavity, lined with moss, fur, bark, leaves, grass, and snake skin. Built in 6-11 days. Occasionally perennial. Female builds nest.
EGGS: 5-7 White to creamy white, spotted with browns, occasionally wreathed. 0.7" (18 mm).
CHICK DEVELOPMENT: Female incubates. Incubation takes 13-14 days. Development is altricial (immobile, downless, eyes closed, fed). Young leave the nest after 15-18 days. Both sexes tend young.
DIET: Insects, seeds, friut, including spiders and their eggs, a few snails. Acorns may form most of diet from November to February.
CONSERVATION: Winter resident. Uncommon cowbird host. Will use nest boxes.
NOTES: Long-term pair bond. Young of previous brood occasionally help at nest. Male feeds female from courtship through early hatching. Close sitter on nest. Move about in family groups in fall. Form mixed-species flocks with a variety of other species (especially chickadees, nuthatches, small woodpeckers) in nonbreeding season. Formerly regarded as separate species from Black-crested Titmouse until studies showed that they interbreed freely in a narrow zone through e c Texas.
Parus bicolor TUFTED TITMOUSE. Forest, woods, scrub, towns. From w,n Texas, cw Oklahoma, c Kansas, se Nebraska, nw Iowa, se Minnesota, c Wisconsin, c Michigan, s Ontario, nc New York, c New England, s to Gulf coast and s Florida. Range is expanding.