|Conservation status||Populations rise and fall in northern part of range, decreasing after harsh winters. Overall population probably stable, perhaps even expanding.|
|Habitat||Tangles, undergrowth, suburbs, gardens, towns. Common in the undergrowth of deciduous or mixed woods, and in thickets along forest edges. Also lives in suburban areas, especially where some dense low growth and tangles have been left undisturbed.|
Usually forages in pairs, actively exploring low tangles, foliage, bark of trunks and branches, and the ground. Sometimes comes to bird feeders for suet, peanuts, other items.
5-6,, sometimes 4-8. White, with brown blotches usually concentrated at larger end. Incubation is by female only, 12-16 days; male may feed female during incubation. Young: Both parents bring food for nestlings. Young leave nest about 12-14 days after hatching. 2 broods per year, or 3 in south.
Both parents bring food for nestlings. Young leave nest about 12-14 days after hatching. 2 broods per year, or 3 in south.
Mostly insects. Feeds primarily on insects of many kinds, especially caterpillars, beetles, true bugs, grasshoppers, crickets, and many others. Also feeds on many spiders, some millipedes and snails. Sometimes catches and eats small lizards or tree frogs. Also eats berries and small fruits, especially in winter, and some seeds.
May mate for life. Pairs remain together all year, defending permanent territories; male and female often sing in duet. Nest site is in any kind of cavity, including natural hollows in trees or stumps, old woodpecker holes, crevices among upturned roots of fallen trees, sometimes in middle of brushpile; also in nest boxes, crevices in buildings, on shelf in garage, many other artificial sites. Usually less than 10' above the ground. Nest is bulky mass of twigs, leaves, weeds, with lining of softer material such as moss, grass, animal hair, feathers. A piece of snakeskin is frequently added. Often a domed nest, with entrance on side. Both sexes help build, female adds most of lining.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
Download Our Bird Guide App
Permanent resident. May wander north of breeding range, especially in fall.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for over 450 bird species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsLoud whistled tweedle-tweedle-tweedle or tea-kettle, tea-kettle, tea-kettle tea, sung all day long in all seasons.
Learn more about this sound collection.