Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)

Tufted Titmouse

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Paridae | [latin] Baeolophus bicolor | [UK] Tufted Titmouse | [FR] Mesange bicolore | [DE] Indianermeise | [ES] Copetoncito norteno | [NL] Tweekleurige Mees


Monotypic species

Physical charateristics

A small, gray, mouse-colored bird with a tufted crest . Underparts pale, sides rusty, light spot between the eye and bill. Those in much of southern, central, and western Texas have a black crown
and crest (this form is regarded by some as a distinct species, Parus atricristatus, known as the “Black-crested Titmouse”).

Listen to the sound of Tufted Titmouse

[audio:http://www.aviflevoland.nl/sounddb/T/Tufted Titmouse.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 20 cm wingspan max.: 26 cm
size min.: 14 cm size max.: 16 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 15 days fledging max.: 16 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 7  


North America : East, Southeast USA


Woodlands, shade trees, groves.
Mostly in deciduous forest with tall trees, sometimes in mixed forest. Can live in orchards, suburbs, or even city parks if trees are large enough. In southern Texas, “Black-crested” Titmouse inhabits brushlands and low woods a
s well as taller trees along rivers.


Male feeds female often from courtship stage until after eggs hatch. Breeding pair may have a “helper,” one of their offspring from the previous year.
Site is in hole in tree, either natural cavity or old woodpecker hole; averages about 35′ above the ground, ranging from 3′ to 90′ up. Unlike the chickadees, apparently does not excavate its own nest hole. Will also use birdhouses. Nest (proba
bly built by female) has foundation of grass, moss, leaves, bark strips, lined with soft materials, especially animal hair. Bird may pluck hair from live woodchuck, dog, or other animal, even from humans.
Eggs: 5-6, sometimes 3-9. White, finely dotted with brown. Incubation is by female, 12-14 days.
Young: Female stays with young much of time at first, while male brings food; later, young are fed by both parents, sometimes by additional helper. Young leave nest 15-16 days after hatching.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects and seeds.
Insects are close to two-thirds of diet, with caterpillars most important in summer; also eats wasps, bees, sawfly larvae, beetles, scale insects, many others, plus spiders, snails. Seeds, nuts, and berries are important in diet in winter.
Behavior: Forages by hopping actively among branches and twigs of trees, often hanging upside down, sometimes hovering momentarily. Often drops to the ground for food as well. Opens acorns and
seeds by holding them with feet and pounding with bill. Will store food items, retrieving them later.


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 increasing, 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.
Tufted Titmouse status Least Concern


Eastern No
rth America to western Texas, northeastern Mexico. The birds of southern, central, and western Texas are regarded by some as a distinct species (Parus atricristatus) known as the “Black-crested Titmouse.”
Migration: Permanent resident. Young birds may disperse some distance away from where they were raised (in any direction, including north).

Distribution map

Tufted Titmouse distribution range map

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