|Photo by Dick Daniels (Carolina Birds)|
tufted titmouse (en); chapim-bicolor (pt); mésange bicolore (fr); herrerillo bicolor (es); indianermeise (de)
This species is found throughout the eastern United States, from Michigan to New Hampshire and south to Florida, Louisiana and eastern Texas. They are also found in Canada, in southern Ontario.
These birds are 14-16 cm long and have a wingspan of 20-26 cm. They weigh 18-26 g.
The tufted titmouse is found in mostly deciduous and mixed deciduous-evergreen forests, as well as in swamp forests, typically in areas with a dense canopy and many tree species. They are also found in scrublands, orchards, parks, and suburban areas, from sea level up to an altitude of 600 m.
During the spring and summer they mainly eat invertebrates, such as caterpillars, beetles, wasps, ants, bees, stink bugs, treehoppers, spiders and snails. During the rest of the year they also eat fruits, berries, seeds, nuts and acorns, being known to hoard food, storing many of the seeds they get in tree holes.
Tufted titmice breed in March-June. They nest in tree cavities, using either natural cavities or old woodpecker nests, which they line with soft materials such as hair, fur, wool, and cotton. The nest is usually high in the trees, up to 30 m above the ground. The female lays 3-9 white to creamy white eggs with brown, purple, or lilac spots. The eggs are incubated by the female for 12-14 days while the male brings her food. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 15-16 days after hatching, but only become fully independent several weeks later. Each pair may raise 1-2 broods per season.
IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 12 million individuals. The population has undergone a small increase over the last 4 decades and is expanding its range northward, possibly due to warming climate, reversion of farmlands to forests, and the growing popularity of backyard bird feeders.