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Tufted Titmouse


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

A little gray bird with an echoing voice, the Tufted Titmouse is common in eastern deciduous forests and a frequent visitor to feeders. The large black eyes, small, round bill, and brushy crest gives these birds a quiet but eager expression that matches the way they flit through canopies, hang from twig-ends, and drop in to bird feeders. When a titmouse finds a large seed, you’ll see it carry the prize to a perch and crack it with sharp whacks of its stout bill.


The Tufted Titmouse’s song is a fast-repeated, clear whistle: peter-peter-peter. The birds repeat this up to 11 times in succession or up to 35 songs delivered per minute. Females occasionally sing a quieter version of the song.


Titmouse calls are nasal and mechanical. A scratchy, chickadee-like tsee-day-day-day is the most common. Tufted Titmice also give fussy, scolding call notes and, when predators are sighted, a harsh distress call that warns other titmice of the danger.

Search the Macaulay Library online archive for more sounds and videos

Backyard Tips

Tufted Titmouse are regulars at backyard bird feeders, especially in winter. They prefer sunflower seeds but will eat suet, peanuts, and other seeds as well. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

Tufted Titmouse build their nests in cavities, so putting up nest boxes is a good way to attract breeding titmice to your yard. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young. Find out more about nest boxes on our Attract Birds pages. You'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size on our All About Birdhouses site.

Find This Bird

Look for Tufted Titmice flitting through the outer branches of tree canopies in deciduous woods, parks, and backyards. A quiet walk through woodlands will often turn up the twittering of a mixed-species foraging flock, and you’ll likely find titmice in attendance. You’ll often hear the high, whistled peter-peter-peter song well before you see the bird.

Get Involved

Keep track of the Tufted Titmice at your feeder with Project FeederWatch

Visit the NestCams archives to watch Tufted Titmice at their nest.

Enhance your yard for titmice and other birds. Visit our web pages on feeding and attracting birds.

Check out our resources on attracting cavity-nesting birds and setting up a nest box for small songbirds such as Tufted Titmice. Then report any nesting activity to NestWatch

You Might Also Like

Risk Management for Chickadees, Living Bird, Autumn 2013

Tufted Titmouse from Bent's Life Histories of North American Birds (1947)

All About Birds blog, Here’s What to Feed Your Summer Bird Feeder Visitors, July 11, 2014.

Downloadable "Common Feeder Birds" poster from Project FeederWatch (PDF)

Research Surprise: Many Birds Exposed to Eye Disease, but Only Finches Get Sick, All About Birds blog, August 25, 2014.

Power Struggles Are Playing Out at Your Feeder—Here’s What to Look For, All About Birds blog, March 11, 2015.

Understanding the Pecking Order at a Backyard Bird Feeder, You Tube video, March 11, 2015.

Like Chasing Tornadoes: The Fun And Challenge Of Mixed Species Flocks, Living Bird, Autumn 2014.



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