- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Paridae
A jaunty gray songbird with a bold black crest, the Black-crested Titmouse occurs in between two closely related species, the more muted Tufted Titmouse to the east and the even flashier Bridled Titmouse farther west. Listen for its familiar chick-a-dee call or a sweet whistled peer-peer, similar to a Tufted Titmouse. Few habitats in central and southern Texas are without at least a few Black-crested Titmice, whether mesquite-filled arroyos or ponderosa-pine highlands, but they are most at home in oak woodlands.More ID Info
Find This Bird
On a short morning walk in a well-wooded park in South Texas and northeast Mexico, Black-crested Titmice are relatively easy to find if you listen for their sweet, clear whistled song. During the nonbreeding season, look for them in mixed flocks with other songbirds. In parts of central Texas, watch for hybrids (with Tufted Titmice) which tend to have a dark gray crest with a brownish forehead.
- Herrerillo Crestinegro (Spanish)
- Mésange à plumet noir (French)
This species often comes to bird feeders. For specifics about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best, check out the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list. A nest box might also attract a breeding pair. Plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size are on the All About Birdhouses site.
- Cool Facts
- Tufted and Black-crested Titmice are closely related, but they sound different. Black-crested’s calls are more nasal than Tufted’s, and its song is typically higher in pitch and faster. Studies in the hybrid zone in central Texas have found that Black-crested Titmice often sing a single-syllabled peer in the main song, while Tufted Titmice more often sing a two-syllabled peter.
- The Black-crested Titmouse and Tufted Titmouse diverged about 250,000 years ago. In fact, the two species often hybridize and were once considered the same species. Hybrids are fairly common and show gray (not black) crests and brownish or grayish foreheads (neither black, as in Tufted, nor white, as in Black-crested).
- The oldest known Black-crested Titmouse was at least 7 years, 11 months old, when it was recaptured and re-released during banding operations in Texas.