Tufted Titmouse

B. bicolor

Last updated: July 31, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
Image Credit Rich Waite/Shutterstock.com

Tufted Titmouse Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Passeriformes
Family
Paridae
Genus
Baeolophus
Scientific Name
B. bicolor

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Tufted Titmouse Conservation Status

Tufted Titmouse Locations

Tufted Titmouse Locations

Tufted Titmouse Facts

Prey
Insects
Main Prey
Caterpillars
Name Of Young
Nestlings
Group Behavior
  • Social
Estimated Population Size
8 million
Wingspan
7.9-10.2 in
Incubation Period
12-14 days
Age Of Independence
Around 1 to 2 years
Age Of Fledgling
15-16 days
Habitat
Mixed forests, gardens, and parks
Predators
Cats, birds of prey
Diet
Omnivore
Average Clutch Size
6
Nesting Location
Holes

Tufted Titmouse Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Grey
  • White
Skin Type
Feathers
Lifespan
Around 2.1 years
Weight
0.6-0.9 oz
Length
5.5-6.3 in
Age of Sexual Maturity
Around 1 year
Venomous
No
Aggression
Low

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“The tufted titmouse has a pretty simple song, but it is known to vary in at least 20 different ways.”

The tufted titmouse is a relatively small songbird native to North America. It is a species of the chickadee family and related to other tits. Recently, this species was separated into several other species thanks to DNA research.

4 Amazing Tufted Titmouse Facts

  • Song-lover: This songbird has a pretty simple peter-peter-peter song. However, depending on the bird and situation, it can vary in over 20 ways.
  • Friend of Birdfeeders: This bird’s range has increased substantially thanks to the help of bird feeders, which have allowed this species to find food outside of its original range throughout the year.
  • Increasing Population: Unlike many animals today, the tufted titmouse population is increasing in size each year by about 1.5%.
  • Curious: This species exhibits a lot of curiosity and is known to peek into houses.

Where to Find the Tufted Titmouse

The tufted titmouse does not migrate. Therefore, it remains in its home area throughout the whole year. Technically, the easiest time to spot these birds is in the winter, as there is less competition around the birdfeeder. However, you can find this bird at any time in areas where it is native.

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This species originally stayed in the Ohio and Mississippi River basins. Because it is non-migratory, it must be able to find food in its home area throughout the year, preventing it from being found very far north. However, bird feeders have changed this, as this species is not extending its range North.

You can now find this species in Ontario and Quebec, where people can be found. Of course, bird feeders are vital for the species’ survival in these areas.

This bird prefers deciduous and mixed woods. However, you can also spot it in gardens and shrublands. It isn’t very particular about the trees it spends time in.



Tufted Titmouse Nests

The tufted titmouse nests in holes. Typically, these are holes that are naturally occurring in trees. However, they will also utilize human-made nesting boxes and old woodpecker nests. They don’t seem to care how the hole got there – just as long as they can use it.

Generally, they build their nests similarly to other birds. Usually, they will line it with soft materials, such as animal hair. Some observers have seen them plucking animal hair from live animals, including dogs. Nests have also been found with snakeskin, which is a soft material.

tufted titmouse with fur for its nest
The tufted titmouse will lines its nest with soft material such as animal fur.

Jeanne Crockett/Shutterstock.com

Tufted Titmouse Scientific Name

The tufted titmouse gets its genus name Baeolophus from the Greek words baios and lophos, which roughly translates into “small crested”. Its scientific name is Baeolophus bicolor, which simply means two-colored. Therefore, the bird’s scientific name translates into “small-crested, two-colored.”

The Baeolophus genus contains five species, all of which have the common name “titmouse”. These birds have a slightly different range, which explains their slight phsycial differences. Originally, this genus was contained within the genus Parus. However, the American Ornithological Society recently separated it into a different category.

The tufted titmouse falls into the Paridae family. These family members are commonly referred to as “tits” or “chickadees,” depending on where you are.

Tufted Titmouse Size, Appearance, & Behavior

These birds are relatively small. They usually only measure around 5.5 to 6.3 inches long, weigh around 0.6 to 0.9 ounces, and have a wingspan of 7.9 to 10.2 inches. Therefore, compared to other birds that are extremely small.

This species has a white front and a grey body. They usually have rust-colored flanks and a black forehead, as well. Their crest is grey and tufted, hence their common name. In younger birds, the black markings are not as obvious. Therefore, they can be harder to identify, as they are sometimes confused for the oak titmouse.

tufted titmouse
The tufted titmouse is a curious bird, often peeking into windows and follow people and other animals around their yards.

Lester Graham/Shutterstock.com

The tufted titmouse has demonstrated considerable curiosity. It isn’t odd for them to perch on a window, peer into a house, or follow people around their yard. They may also cling to windows and walls to seek out bugs.

As very vocal birds, the tufted titmouse also seems to understand the sounds of other birds. They will respond to the calls of other animals and readily form flocks with their kind. However, when other tufted titmice aren’t available, they will form flocks with similar birds.

Tufted Titmouse Diet

The tufted titmouse will eat just about any berries, seeds, nuts, or other small plant materials. Furthermore, bugs and caterpillars also make up a large portion of their diet in the summer.

This species visits bird feeders regularly, especially in the north. In areas outside their usual range, these birds will rely particularly on bird feeders for survival.

Typically, they gather food from the ground and from branches. They typically scout a food source from cover, fly in to grab a piece, and then fly away. They will not stand on a feeder and eat for an extended period like other birds.

What does a Tufted Titmouse eat?

A tufted titmouse eats about what you’d expect a bird too. They consume insects, small fruits, berries, seeds, nuts, and other items. Bird feeders may play a large role in their diet in some areas.

Tufted Titmouse Predators, Threats, and Conservation Status

Currently, the tufted titmouse is least concern. This species is currently expanding its range thanks to birdfeeders. Plus, their population is increasing by about 1.5% every year. Therefore, unlike other animals, this species is doing quite well.

What eats the Tufted Titmouse?

Often, the tufted titmouse is most commonly eaten by cats and birds of prey. These predators are usually sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks inside the titmouse’s usual range. However, just about any bird of prey will hunt the tufted titmouse if given the chance.

When birds are very young, they may also be eaten by snakes, raccoons, skunks, opossums, and squirrels. Any ground predator getting into a nest will eat young birds or eggs. However, adults that can fly can usually escape these predators.

Reproduction, Young, and Molting

Once laid, the tufted titmouse has extremely tiny eggs. They measure under one inch and are usually white or off-white with purplish spots. A clutch can vary in size from five to seven eggs. Eggs must be incubated for 12-14 days. Then, the titmice must remain in the nest for another 15-16 days before they become fledglings.

In the wild, the average titmouse only lives about 2.1 years. However, one of these birds can live for more than 10 years in captivity.

Unlike most bird species, the titmouse stays with its parts throughout the first winter. Often, offspring will stay with their parents even longer, though. Sometimes, a bird will help raise its siblings the following year before mating when it turns two.

Sometimes, this species will breed with the black-crested titmouse due to the similarities. However, this doesn’t often occur because these birds do not have large overlapping areas in their ranges.

Population

Currently, the tufted titmouse has a pretty large range and population. Their population is expected to increase by 1.5% yearly, especially as the species moves north. Currently, their population is around 8 million. Their conservation status is listed as Least Concern.

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Tufted Titmouse FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Does the Tufted Titmouse Migrate?

No. The tufted titmouse does not migrate. Instead, each bird will stay in their home area throughout the year.

How many eggs does the tufted titmouse lay?

The tufted titmouse may lay between five and seven eggs in each clutch.

How fast does the tufted titmouse fly?

We do not have an accurate measurement of how fast this bird flies. Because it is very small, trackers are more challenging to place on them. Plus, because the bird’s population is increasing, it hasn’t been as part of many studies as more endangered species.

What is the tufted titmouse's wingspan?

As reasonably small birds, this species has a wingspan of only around 10 inches.

When do tufted titmice leave the nest?

These birds will leave the nest around 15-16 days after they hatch. However, juveniles may stay with their parents throughout the first year. Almost all of them will stay through the first winter at the very least.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. E-bird, Available here: https://ebird.org/species/tuftit
  2. ABC Birds, Available here: https://abcbirds.org/bird/tufted-titmouse/
  3. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tufted_titmouse
  4. All About Birds, Available here: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Tufted_Titmouse/overview

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