At a Glance

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.
Chickadees and Titmice, Perching Birds
Low Concern
Arroyos and Canyons, Desert and Arid Habitats, Forests and Woodlands, Urban and Suburban Habitats
California, Northwest
Direct Flight, Flitter, Undulating

Range & Identification

Migration & Range Maps

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


5-5 1/2" (13-14 cm). Gray or brownish gray with very plain face, slightly paler underparts. Short crest may be raised or almost flattened against head. Compare to other small gray birds such as Bushtit.
About the size of a Robin, About the size of a Sparrow
Brown, Gray
Wing Shape
Tail Shape
Rounded, Square-tipped

Songs and Calls

A harsh, fussy see-dee-dee or chick-a-dee-dee.
Call Pattern
Call Type
Buzz, Chirp/Chip, Hi, Whistle


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.



Usually 6-7, sometimes 3-9. White, sometimes lightly dotted with reddish brown. Incubation is by female only, 14-16 days.


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

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.


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.


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.

Climate Vulnerability

Conservation Status

Very common in parts of its range, but surveys suggest declining numbers in recent decades.

Climate Map

Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect the range of the Oak Titmouse. Learn even more in our Audubon’s Survival By Degrees project.

Climate Threats Facing the Oak Titmouse

Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.