Bird Database

Tufted Titmouse

(Baeolophus bicolor)

State of the Birds
At a Glance





Strongly increasing


Predation, Collision

Conservation Actions

Maintain a bird-friendly yard

Tufted Titmouse

(Baeolophus bicolor)

With their distinctive crest, bold manner, and loud “peter peter peter” song, the Tufted Titmouse is one of the more familiar backyard birds in New Hampshire, but it wasn’t always this way. Titmice are a southern species and were unheard of in the state until the 1950s, when an ongoing northward range expansion finally crossed the border from Massachusetts. By the 1980s they were well established in the southeast and along the southern Connecticut River but had not yet made it to the Lakes Region. Now they’re reliable in communities like Gorham and Lancaster in southern Coos County and have been found – albeit rarely – as far north as Pittsburg. Despite this exceptional dispersal ability, titmice are reluctant to cross water, and are thus less common than chickadees on islands in Lake Winnipesaukee.

While winter temperatures are probably the main factor limiting titmice in the north, their overall expansion was probably aided by the availability of bird feeders. Here, along with chickadees, they often form the core of mixed species foraging flocks that travel through a neighborhood. The titmice in these flocks tend to include an adult pair and a variable number of younger birds, not necessarily the offspring of the pair. Flocks attract other species like woodpeckers, nuthatches, and kinglets, and within them the titmice are dominant over all other species. They are often the first birds to sound an alarm when danger is detected and mob potential predators. Migrant birds such as warblers and vireos join these flocks in the fall, when listening for titmice is an excellent way to find a diversity of other species.

The flocks disperse in spring, although sometimes a single yearling titmouse will remain to help its parents raise their next brood, a behavior rare in the chickadee family. Like other species in this family, titmice are cavity nesters, but unlike chickadees do not excavate their own nest holes. Instead, they use old woodpecker cavities, nest boxes, or natural cavities such as in knotholes. Here they lay 5-6 eggs, sometimes as early as the beginning of May, and incubate them for two weeks. A little over two weeks later the young leave the nest, although they will still associate with their parents for over a month afterward. Some young may even remain to form the next winter’s feeding flock.

Seasonal Abundance

Relative abundance based on eBird data. Numbers indicate likelihood of finding this species in suitable habitat at a given time of year, not actual numbers encountered.

Tufted Titmouse
Range Map

Information for the species profiles on this website was compiled from a combination of the sources listed below.

  • The Birds of New Hampshire. By Allan R. Keith and Robert B. Fox. 2013. Memoirs of the Nuttall Ornithological club No. 19.

  • Atlas of the Breeding Birds of New Hampshire. Carol R. Foss, ed. 1994. Arcadia Publishing Company and Audubon Society of New Hampshire

  • Birds of the World. Various authors and dates. Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.

  • Data from the Breeding Bird Survey

  • Data from the Christmas Bird Count