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16 Fun Facts About Titmouse

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What is a Titmouse?

The titmouse is a small songbird found throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. These active little birds are best known for the tuft or crest of feathers on top of their heads, which gives them their name. There are around 55 species of titmice and chickadees, and they belong to the Paridae family of perching birds along with chickadees.

Titmice are extremely acrobatic birds that can hang upside down and hover as they search for insects and spiders to eat. They also supplement their diet with seeds and berries. Titmice are cavity nesters, building nests in the holes of trees, nest boxes, or other sheltered spots. They are social birds that may gather in mixed flocks with chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and other species outside of breeding season.

Species like the tufted titmouse have been expanding their range northwards in recent decades, likely due to warming temperatures associated with climate change. Titmice are confident around humans and can sometimes be hand-fed or trained to come when called. Their loud, echoing calls of “peto” or “peter” help birdwatchers locate them.

Here are 16 fascinating tidbits about these tiny tweeters:

Black-crested Titmouse (Baeolophus atricristatus)
Black-crested Titmouse (Baeolophus atricristatus) by esellingson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 .

Facts About Titmouse

  1. Titmice get their name from their call. Their most common vocalization sounds like “ti-ti-ti-titi-titi.” This has led to names like “titmouse,” “tittymouse,” and more across different languages.
  2. They are expert acrobats. Titmice move incredibly fast, hang upside down, hover, and crawl across branches and twigs with ease thanks to their strong feet and short tails.
  3. Titmice are social and travel in mixed flocks. It’s common to see titmice in the company of chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and other small birds as they busily search for food.
  4. They mostly eat insects and spiders. Up to 75% of their diet can consist of tasty treats like beetles, caterpillars, ants, wasps, and spiders. They supplement this with seeds and berries.
  5. Titmice has good memories. Researchers have discovered that titmice can remember the location of hundreds of stored seeds and return to them even months later.
  6. They are cavity nesters. Titmice builds nests in the holes of trees or nest boxes. The female lines the nest with moss, grass, fur, feathers, and hair.
  7. The parents work together to raise the young. Both the male and female titmouse sit on the eggs until they hatch in about two weeks. Then they devote themselves fully to gathering food for the chicks.
  8. Baby titmice develops quickly. The chicks are born naked and helpless but are ready to leave the nest in just 16 to 18 days. They stick close to their parents for another two weeks after fleeing.
  9. Some species have capped heads. The bridled titmouse, oak titmouse, juniper titmouse, and tufted titmouse all have striking black, white or gray caps and forehead markings.
  10. Titmice live 2-3 years on average. The oldest known wild tufted titmouse was over 13 years old. With such high-energy lifestyles, most titmice don’t live past a few breeding seasons.
  11. Climate change threatens their future. Warmer weather has allowed some species like the juniper titmouse to expand their range northward. But other species are losing habitat due to factors like wildfires.
  12. Titmice species vary across the globe. There are around 55 species of titmice and chickadees divided among 4 genera. Most live in North America, Europe or Asia in woodland and forest habitats.
  13. They are in the same family as chickadees. Both titmice and chickadees belong to the Paridae family of small perching birds. They share common traits like acrobatic ability, social bonds, and loud territorial calls.
  14. Some species have striking black and white plumage. The black-crested titmouse of Central America and Mexico has a slick black head with white “eyebrows” and throat. And the oriental tit has mostly black feathers with variable amounts of white spotting.
  15. Titmice seems bold and curious around humans. It’s not uncommon for tufted titmice and other species to come very close when humans offer food. But they can also be quite wary of predators when feeling threatened.
  16. Watch for their feather-raising threat display. When alarmed, titmice will sometimes fluff up all their body feathers to appear larger to potential predators. The bold black-and-white coloration becomes even more pronounced.

In conclusion, titmice are tiny, tough, and talented little birds. Their spunky attitudes, loud voices, and aerial feats never cease to entertain. Take a closer look at these little acrobats on your next woodland walk!

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