American Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)

American Bushtit

American Bushtit

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] aegithalidae | [latin] Psaltriparus minimus | [UK] American Bushtit | [FR] Mesange buissonniere | [DE] Buschmeise | [ES] Mito Sastrecillo | [NL] Struikmees


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Phylloscopus minimus
Psaltriparus minimus
Psaltriparus minimus NA, MA sw Canada to Guatemala
Psaltriparus minimus californicus
Psaltriparus minimus dimorphicus
Psaltriparus minimus grindae
Psaltriparus minimus iulus
Psaltriparus minimus melanotis
Psaltriparus minimus melanurus
Psaltriparus minimus minimus
Psaltriparus minimus personatus
Psaltriparus minimus plumbeus
Psaltriparus minimus saturatus

Physical charateristics

Very small, plain birds that move from bush to tree in straggling flocks, conversing in light gentle notes. Nondescript; gray backs, pale underparts, brownish cheeks, stubby bills, longish tails. Birds in Rockies and Great Basin have gray crowns. Males of
the form known as “Black-eared Bushtit” in southwestern New Mexico (San Luis Mountains) and western Texas (Davis, Chisos mountains) have black or black-flecked cheeks.

wingspan min.: 17 cm wingspan max.: 18 cm
size min.: 10 cm size max.: 11 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 13 days
fledging min.: 16 days fledging max.: 18 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 8  


North America, Middle America : Southwest Canada to Guatemala


Oak scrub, chaparral, mixed woods, pinyons, junipers.
Lives in many kinds of wooded or brushy habitats, from lowlands to middle elevations in the mountains, including chaparral, oak forest, pinyon-juniper and pine-oak woods, streamside groves, and well-wooded suburbs and city parks. Avoids high mountains an
d hot desert regions, but may appear in groves along desert streams in winter.


After winter flocks break up, pairs establish territories but do not defend them strongly, tol
erating other Bushtits even near nest. If pairs are disturbed during early stages of nesting, they reportedly may abandon the effort and build a new nest, perhaps with a different mate.
Nest: Site is in a tree or shrub, 8-
35′ above the ground, sometimes lower or higher. Nest (built by both sexes) is a tightly woven hanging pocket, up to a foot long; small entrance passageway near top leads to nest chamber. Nest is made of spider webs, moss, g
rass, lichens, leaves, rootlets, twigs; inside lined with plant down, animal hair, feathers.
Eggs: 5-7. White. Incubation is by both parents, about 12 days. Both parents may sleep in nest at night.
Young: Fed and brooded by both parents. Young leave nest about 14-15 days after hatching. 2 broods per year.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects. Feeds on a wide variety of tiny insects, especially leafhoppers, treehoppers, aphids, scale insects, c
aterpillars, and beetles; also wasps, ants, and many others, including eggs and pupae of many insects. Also eats some spiders, berries, and sometimes seeds.
Forages very actively in trees and shrubs, moving rapidly among foliage and small twigs, often hanging upside down at the ends of twigs while probing among pine needles or the bases of leaves. Except when nesting, usually forages in flocks.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
American Bushtit status Least Concern


Resident, southwestern British Columbia to Guatemala. Migration:
Mostly a permanent resident. In the southwestern interior, where it breeds in foothills and mountains, small flocks may move into the lowlands in winter, even to many miles away from breeding habitat.

Distribution map

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