Living Bird Magazine
Living Bird Magazine
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Aegithalidae
Bushtits are sprightly, social songbirds that twitter as they fly weakly between shrubs and thickets in western North America. Almost always found in lively flocks, they move constantly, often hanging upside down to pick at insects or spiders on the undersides of leaves. Flocks of Bushtits mix with similar small songbirds like warblers, chickadees, and kinglets while foraging. Bushtits weave a very unusual hanging nest, shaped like a soft pouch or sock, from moss, spider webs, and grasses.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Bushtits are inconspicuous but common. Look for them moving through low branches of open woodlands, edges, and park or neighborhood vegetation, where they are active and acrobatic as they search for insects. Listen for their quiet but consistent call notes.
- Mito Sastrecillo (Spanish)
- Orite buissonnière (French)
Bushtits eat mostly small insects, and can be hard to attract to feeders. You can help make your yard inviting to them by planting native shrubs and small trees. 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.
- Cool Facts
- The Bushtit is the only member of its family in the Americas; seven other species are found in Eurasia. All have similar complex hanging nests.
- A breeding Bushtit pair often has helpers at the nest that aid in raising the nestlings. This already rare behavior is made more unusual by the fact that the helpers are typically adult males.
- For most breeding birds, only one adult at a time sleeps on the nest, but all Bushtit family members sleep together in their large, hanging nest during the breeding season. Once the young fledge, they all leave the nest and thereafter sleep on branches.
- Bushtits are social birds that live year-round in flocks of 10 to 40 birds. They range widely in winter, sometimes moving considerable distances to escape cold weather. When nesting, a pair usually tolerates other flock members near the nest.
- The oldest known Bushtit was a female, and at least 9 years, 1 month old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in California.