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", the black-crested titmouse, found from central and southern Texas southwards, was included as a subspecies but is now considered a separate species (Baeolophus atricristatus).
|Combined range of tufted titmouse and black-crested titmouse|
Parus bicolor Linnaeus, 1766
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.
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.
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. From 1966 - 2015 the tufted titmouse population has increased by more than 1.5% per year throughout the northeastern US, Michigan and Wisconsin.
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. 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. Its normal pattern is to scout a feeder from cover, fly in to take a seed, then fly back to cover to eat it.
Tufted titmice nest in a hole in a tree, either a natural cavity, a man-made nest box, or sometimes an old woodpecker nest. They line the nest with soft materials, sometimes plucking hair from a live animal such as a dog. If they find shed snake skin, they will try to incorporate pieces of it in their nest. Their eggs are under an 1 inch (2.5 centimetres) long and are white or cream-colored with brownish or purplish spots.
The lifespan of the tufted titmouse is approximately 2.1 years, though they can live for more than 10 years. These birds will on average have a clutch size of 5 to 7 eggs. 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. Sometimes, a bird born the year before will help its parents raise the next year's young.
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- 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.
- "Common Nesting birds - Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor)". Nest Watch. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
- Elder, William H. (1985). "Survivorship in the Tufted Titmouse" (PDF). Wilson Bull. 97: 517–524 – via ProQuest.
- 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.
- 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.
- "All About Birds - Tufted Titmouse". Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tufted titmouse.|
|Wikispecies has information related to Baeolophus bicolor|
- "Tufted titmouse media". Internet Bird Collection.
- Tufted titmouse species account – Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- Tufted titmouse – Baeolophus bicolor – USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter
- Tufted titmouse photo gallery at VIREO (Drexel University)