Tufted Titmouse

Baeolophus bicolor

Tufted Titmouse - Baeolophus bicolor Atlanta, GA - Peachtree Park - February, 2013

Tufted Titmouse – Baeolophus bicolor

These birds have grey upper parts and white underparts with a white face, a grey crest, a dark forehead and a short stout bill; they have rufous-colored flanks. [1]   A Tufted Titmouse is a beautiful bird and we don’t see them often enough.  That’s partly because they move around a lot, seldom staying in  one spot more than a few seconds, which also makes them a bit hard to photograph.

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse – grab and run lunch

They forage actively on branches, sometimes on the ground, mainly eating insects, especially caterpillars, but also seeds, nuts and berries. They will store food for later use. They tend to be curious about their human neighbors and can sometimes be spotted on window ledges peering into the windows to watch what’s going on inside.[1]

They are more shy when seen at bird feeders; their normal pattern there is to scout the feeder from the cover of trees or bushes, fly to the feeder, take a seed, and fly back to cover to eat it. [1]  We’ve watched this behavior dozens of times at our feeders.  They are at the feeder just long enough to grab a seed and escape back to a tree limb or shrub.

Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

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 cannot excavate however and rely on natural holes or holes made by others, such as woodpeckers. [3]

They line their nest with soft materials, sometimes plucking hair from a live animal such as a dog.  (wouldn’t you love to see that?)  If they find shed snake skin, they will try to incorporate pieces of it in their nest. [1]

These birds are permanent residents here and often join small mixed flocks in winter. [1]

References and Additional Information

[1]  Wikipedia: Tufted Titmouse
[2]  The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition – David Allen Sibley
[3]  Cornell – All About Birds: Tufted Titmouse
[4]  Cornell – All About Birds: Tufted Titmouse – sound
[5]  The Breeding Bird Atlas of Georgia – UGA Press: Schneider, Beaton, Keyes and Klaus, Eds.