Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor | Photos, Songbirds Ojibway Park

The Tufted Titmouse aka Baeolophus bicolor

The tufted titmouse is a tame, active songbird with a crest on the top of its head. It has grey plumage with slightly paler underparts, orange on the sides with a black forehead.

This little bird is common year round in eastern forests. His “peter-peter-peter” song is instantly recognizable. The tufted titmouse is related to the chickadee and readily comes to bird feeders. They will drop down and grab sunflower and them off one at a time to eat on a distance perch. Backyard bird feeders may be helping expand this little bird’s range as Tufted Titmice have been steadily pushing North.

Titmouse Feeding Behavior

The tufted titmouse is a forager. They will hop among branches and twigs and will drop to the ground for food. They are common at bird feeders and eat seeds or suet. Like most songbirds, they open acorns and other seeds by holding them with their feet and pounding the shell with their tiny bill. Titmice store food items for later retrieval.

Diet of the Tufted Titmouse

The titmouse’s favorite food is insects and seeds. Insects make up about two-thirds of their diet, They prey on caterpillars in summer and also eat wasps, bees, larvae (sawfly), beetles, true bugs, scale insects, and many others. The tufted Titmouse also eats other insect eggs and pupae and, some spiders and snails. In winter months, seeds, nuts, berries, and small fruits are important for the titmouse’s diet.

Egg Counts

The female Tufted titmouse lays 5-6, sometimes 3-9 eggs. The eggs are white and finely dotted with brown, red, or purple. Only the female incubates the eggs, for 12-14 days. The female stays with their hatchlings much of the time, while the male brings food.

Young Titmice

The Female titmouse stays with young much of time at first, while the male brings food. As they grow, the young are fed by both parents and sometimes by an additional helper. The titmouse young leave the nest about 15-16 days after they hatch..

Nesting Habits

Titmouse pairs typically stay together all year, joining small flocks with other titmice in the winter. In late winter, the flocks break up into pairs and establish nesting territories. The male feeds the female from the courtship stage until after their eggs hatch. A breeding pair may have a “helper,” which is one of their offspring from the previous year.

Titmouse nest in a tree hole, either a natural cavity or possibly an old woodpecker hole. The nest is typically located about 35 feet above the ground, but could be anywhere from 3 feet to 90 feet up the tree. Unlike the chickadee, the titmouse does not excavate its own nest hole and will also use nest boxes. The nest, likely built by the female, has a foundation of grass, moss, leaves and bark strips. It is lined with soft materials, especially animal hair. Titmice may pluck hair from live woodchucks, dogs, or other animals (even from humans) to line their nests.

The Tufted Titmouse at Ojibway Park

Below is a photo gallery of the Tufted Titmouse that I have captured at Ojibway Park in Windsor, Ontario.

More Information

If you would like to learn more about this species, check out the Tufted Titmouse at eBird.org.

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