Tufted Titmouse

Baeolophus bicolor

Year-round Resident
Has Nested in Park

Tufted Titmice are common year-round residents who nest at Monticello Park. They are in the same family as chickadees.

Where to See Them in the Park

You can see Tufted Titmice in any part of the park. They are vocal and aggressive, so they are not difficult to find.

Physical Description

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse - Photo by William Higgins

Tufted Titmice are small birds with a gray back, light underparts, and rufous flanks. They have a gray crest and a short, thick black bill under a black forehead. The sexes are similar. They are cavity nesters, and the females lay 4 to 8 eggs per brood. A pair sometimes raises two broods a year. Incubation is performed only by the female and lasts two weeks. The young remain in the nest for 17 to 18 days and stay near the parents for close to a month after leaving the nest. You sometimes can see and hear recently fledged titmice at Monticello during the spring.

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse - Photo by Ashley Bradford

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse - Photo by Michael Pollack

Titmice frequently go into the stream to bathe. They sometimes get very wet before flying to a bush to preen.

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse - Photo by Ashley Bradford


The song of the titmouse is a loud, clear peter-peter-peter-peter, or chiva-chiva-chiva. One of their common calls is a series of raspy and complaining notes.

Hear the vocalizations of the Tufted Titmouse.


Some sources say that the plural of titmouse should be titmouses. The titmouse has nothing to do with the rodent, as well as nothing to do with breasts. The "tit" part comes from a Scandinavian word that means "small", and titmouse means "small bird". The titmouse has as little to do with mice as the Killdeer has to do with deer. Still, most sources list titmice as an acceptable plural.

Origin of Names

Common Names: Tufted from the gray crest. Titmouse means "small bird".
Genus Name: Baeolophus means "small crest".
Species Name: Bicolor means "two-colored", from the rufous sides providing a second color.

Tufted Titmouse video footage

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