• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer

Juniper Titmouse

Baeolophus ridgwayi ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: PARIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The Juniper Titmouse is a plain gray bird with a prominent black eye and a feisty tuft of feathers on its head. What it lacks in color, it makes up for with attitude, and its scratchy chatter can be heard all year in the pinyon-juniper woodlands of the interior West. They’re often easy to find as they flit to and from trees or acrobatically dangle upside down from thin branches. They are very similar to the Oak Titmouse and were previously considered the same species, the Plain Titmouse, but they live in different habitats.

Keys to identification Help

Chickadeelike
Chickadeelike
Typical Voice
  • Size & Shape

    The Juniper Titmouse is a small songbird, but the long body, short neck, and medium-long tail makes it appear bigger than it is. A short crest gives the fairly large head a pointed silhouette. The short bill is fairly thick and round.

  • Color Pattern

    The Juniper Titmouse is gray overall with a slightly paler gray belly. The dark eye stands out on an otherwise plain gray bird. The bill is also dark.

  • Behavior

    Juniper Titmice are acrobats of the pinyon-juniper forest. Their strong feet allow them to hang upside down from branches while they forage for seeds and insects. They hop and fly in an undulating motion between trees and shrubs.

  • Habitat

    The Juniper Titmouse occurs in pinyon pine and juniper woodlands from about 2,250-8,000 feet. These cavity-nesting birds tend to nest in mature woodlands, where older pinyon and juniper trees offer a ready supply of cavities for nesting.

Range Map Help

Juniper Titmouse Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

Field MarksHelp

  • Adult

    Juniper Titmouse

    Adult
    • Short crest
    • Gray overall with a slightly paler gray belly
    • Dark eye and bill
    • © Gary Cascio, November 2011
  • Adult

    Juniper Titmouse

    Adult
    • Gray overall with a slightly paler gray belly
    • Long body, short neck, and medium-long tail
    • Short crest
    • Dark eye and bill
    • © Nigel Voaden, Colorado National Monument, Mesa, Colorado, April 2015
  • Adult

    Juniper Titmouse

    Adult
    • Short crest
    • Gray overall with a slightly paler gray belly
    • Dark eye
    • Dark bill
    • © J. Fuhr, April 2012
  • Adult

    Juniper Titmouse

    Adult
    • Long body, short neck, and medium-long tail
    • Short crest
    • Gray overall with a slightly paler gray belly
    • Dark eye and bill
    • © Zach Frieben, Garden of the Gods,Colorado Springs, Colorado, July 2015
  • Adult

    Juniper Titmouse

    Adult
    • Short crest
    • Gray overall with a slightly paler gray belly
    • Dark eye
    • Dark bill
    • © Brian E. Small, Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona
  • Adult

    Juniper Titmouse

    Adult
    • Gray overall with a slightly paler gray belly
    • Short crest
    • Long body, short neck, and medium-long tail
    • Dark eye
    • © Tim Lenz, May 2009

Similar Species

Similar Species

The Oak Titmouse is nearly identical to the Juniper Titmouse, but their ranges overlap only in extreme northern California. Oak Titmice are more brownish-gray on the back compared to the pale gray backs of Juniper Titmice. Tufted Titmice live in the East and their range does not overlap with Juniper Titmouse. Tufted Titmice have white bellies with a rusty wash on their sides which Juniper Titmice lack. The Bushtit is much smaller than Juniper Titmouse, with a smaller bill and no crest on the head. Gray Vireos have brownish wings, a paler belly, and lack a crest. Gray Vireos also tend to perch leaning more forward than Juniper Titmice and are methodical rather than acrobatic foragers.

Backyard Tips

Juniper Titmice visit sunflower and suet feeders especially in areas with shrub and tree cover. Learn more about attracting Juniper Titmice and other species at Project FeederWatch.

Juniper Titmice use nest boxes, so consider putting one up in your yard. Try to have it ready before the breeding season begins and attach a predator guard if possible. Find out more about nest boxes and how to build your own at All About Birdhouses.

Find This Bird

Juniper Titmouse are habitat specialists, so head out to a pinyon-juniper woodland and listen for their characteristic scratchy calls. Once you're in the right place you're likely to find them foraging fairly conspicuously, just like titmice and chickadees in other habitats. Mountain Chickadees and Black-capped Chickadees also have a harsh scratchy call, but it's thinner, more drawn out, and generally softer than a Juniper Titmouse's call. Heading out early in the morning from the middle of March through May will increase your chances of finding them singing on top of an exposed branch. Look for them foraging on the outer branches of trees and shrubs at or above eye level.

Get Involved

Report which birds visit your feeders during one weekend in February at the Great Backyard Bird Count.

Visit our section on how to set up a bird feeder. Watch birds at your feeder in winter and report your counts to Project FeederWatch

You Might Also Like

Explore our Attracting Birds section for tips on setting up feeders and providing a welcoming habitat for birds.

The Food and Feeder Preferences of Common Feeder Birds tool.

Birds at Your Feeder.

×

Search

Or Browse Bird Guide by Family, Name or Shape
×
bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. You can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell or give your email address to others.

×

The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. You can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell or give your email address to others.