Photo: Brian E. Small/Vireo

Oak Titmouse

Baeolophus inornatus

As plain as a bird can be, marked only by a short crest, the Oak Titmouse nonetheless has personality. Pairs or family parties travel about the woods together, exploring the twigs for insects and calling to each other frequently. Until recently, this bird and the Juniper Titmouse were regarded as one species under the name of Plain Titmouse.
Conservation status Very common in parts of its range, but surveys suggest declining numbers in recent decades.
Family Chickadees and Titmice
Habitat Oak woods, pinyon-juniper; locally river woods, shade trees. Along Pacific seaboard, occurs most commonly in oak woodland, including areas where oaks meet streamside trees or pines; also in well-wooded suburbs, rarely in coniferous forest in mountains. In the interior, also occurs in some woodlands dominated by pine or juniper.
As plain as a bird can be, marked only by a short crest, the Oak Titmouse nonetheless has personality. Pairs or family parties travel about the woods together, exploring the twigs for insects and calling to each other frequently. Until recently, this bird and the Juniper Titmouse were regarded as one species under the name of Plain Titmouse.
Photo Gallery
  • adult
  • adult
Feeding Behavior

Forages by hopping about in branches and larger twigs of trees, sometimes hanging upside down, searching for insects among the foliage and on the bark. Opens nuts and acorns by holding them with feet and pounding with bill. Comes to bird feeders for seeds or suet.


Eggs

Usually 6-7, sometimes 3-9. White, sometimes lightly dotted with reddish brown. Incubation is by female only, 14-16 days. Young: Both parents bring food to nestlings. Young leave nest about 16-21 days after hatching.


Young

Both parents bring food to nestlings. Young leave nest about 16-21 days after hatching.

Diet

Insects, nuts, seeds. Feeds mainly on insects, including many caterpillars, beetles, true bugs, leafhoppers, aphids, scale insects, and many others, as well as some spiders. Also eats acorns, weed seeds, and sometimes berries or small fruits.


Nesting

Pairs or family groups may defend territories all year. Nest site (selected by female) is usually in hole in tree, sometimes hole in stump, fence post, or pole. May be natural cavity or old woodpecker hole. In rotten wood, both members of pair may work to enlarge small cavities for their use. Also will use nest boxes, and sometimes crevices in buildings or other cavities. Nest has foundation of grass, weeds, moss, bark fibers, and lining of soft material such as feathers or animal hair.

Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

Migration

Permanent resident, seldom wandering very far away from nesting areas.

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Migration

Permanent resident, seldom wandering very far away from nesting areas.

  • All Seasons - Common
  • All Seasons - Uncommon
  • Breeding - Common
  • Breeding - Uncommon
  • Winter - Common
  • Winter - Uncommon
  • Migration - Common
  • Migration - Uncommon
Songs and Calls
A harsh, fussy see-dee-dee or chick-a-dee-dee.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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