Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

Grey-crested titmice, Crested tomtits, Peto (Pete) Bird, Sennett's titmice, Crested titmice, Tufted chickadees, Tufted tits

Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Baeolophus bicolor
Population size
12 mln
Life Span
2-13 yrs
WEIGHT
18-26 g
LENGTH
14-16 cm
WINGSPAN
20-26 cm

The Tufted titmouse is a small songbird from North America. It has a white front, and grey upper body outlined with rust-colored flanks. Other characteristics include their black foreheads and the tufted grey crest on their heads.

Distribution

Tufted titmice are non'migratory and can be found all year round in the eastern half of the United States. They live in deciduous and mixed woods as well as gardens, parks, and shrublands.

Tufted Titmouse habitat map

Geography

Continents

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Tufted titmice are diurnal, active, and social birds; during the winter months, they often join together in mixed flocks to forage for food. Titmice gather food from the ground and from tree branches and will stash food for later use. They are acrobatic foragers often hanging upside down inspecting a branch or twig and leaves from all angles while searching for their food. These small birds can demonstrate curiosity regarding humans, and sometimes will perch on a window ledge and seem to be peering into the house. They may cling to the windows and walls of buildings seeking prey in wasp and hornet nests. Tufted titmice are also regular visitors around bird feeders. They usually scout a feeder from cover, fly in to take a seed, then fly back to cover to eat it. Tufted titmice are very vocal and make a variety of calls and songs; their song is usually described as a whistled 'peter-peter-peter', although this song can vary in approximately 20 notable ways.

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition

Tufted titmice are omnivores. They eat a wide variety of berries, small fruit, nuts, insects, snails, and seeds.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
late March to mid-June
INCUBATION PERIOD
12-14 days
BABY NAME
chick
BABY CARRYING
5-7 eggs

Tufted titmice are monogamous and mate for life. Breeding occurs from late March to mid-June. Pairs nest in a hole in a tree, either a natural cavity, a human-made nest box, or sometimes an old woodpecker nest. They line the nest with soft materials such as hair, fur, or wool. If they find snake skin sheddings, they may incorporate pieces into their nest. The female lays a clutch of 5 to 7 eggs that are white or cream-colored with brownish or purplish spots. She incubates them for about 12-14 days. The chicks are altricial; they hatch blind and helpless. They fledge at 15-16 days of age and 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.

Population

Population threats

There are no major threats facing Tufted titmice at present.

Population number

According to Partners in Flight resource the total breeding population size of the Tufted titmouse is 12,000,000 birds. Overall, currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are increasing.

Ecological niche

Due to their diet habits, Tufted titmice help to disperse seeds and control the population of certain insects that they feed on.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • The name titmouse is recorded from the 14th century, composed of the Old English name for the bird, 'mase', and 'tit', denoting something small.
  • The titmice are highly adaptable creatures, and after the corvids (crows and jays) and parrots, they are amongst the most intelligent of all birds.
  • Titmice are amongst the most vocal of all birds; they call continuously in most situations, so much so that they are only ever silent for specific reasons such as avoiding predators or when intruding on a rival's territory.
  • When titmice get a larger prey item or seeds, they engage in hold-hammering, where they hold the item between the feet and hammer it with the bill until it opens. In this fashion, they can even open hazelnuts in around 20 minutes.
  • In order to line their nest with soft materials, Tufted titmice sometimes may even pluck hair from a live animal such as a dog or a squirrel.
  • Tufted titmice may eat snow when water is not available.

References

1. Tufted Titmouse on Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tufted_titmouse
2. Tufted Titmouse on The IUCN Red List site - https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/22711983/94314102

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