Titmouse, or Tit, the common name for various small, active birds found throughout the world. There are about 65 species, 12 of which are found in North America. Titmice are divided into three families—the true, long-tailed, and penduline tits.The oak titmouse is small and brown-gray with a small crest.
Of the approximately 50 species of true tits, 10—including the chickadees and the plain and tufted titmice—are found in North America. The long-tailed tits are represented in North America by the bushtit. The only penduline tit found in North America is the verdin.
Titmice range in length from about three to eight inches (7.5 to 20 cm). They are usually gray with white underparts. Some species have a crest. Titmice usually inhabit woodlands, feeding on insects, berries, and seeds. The female lays 3 to 15 white eggs speckled with brown, red, or gray spots. The bushtit, which has no crest, ranges from British Columbia to Guatemala and from the Rockies east to Oklahoma. It builds a hanging, gourd-shaped nest of moss and other plants. The plain titmouse, which has a gray crest, lives in the southwestern United States. The eggs are laid in a tree cavity lined with grass, feathers, leaves, and moss. The tufted titmouse, which has a gray or black crest, ranges from southern Ontario to northern Mexico. This bird formerly did not occur so far north; it was not seen in Ontario until 1914. The northward expansion of its range is probably due to the availability of food at bird-feeders during winter. Tufted titmice build nests in tree cavities.
The bushtit is Psaltriparus minimus of the family Aegithalidae. The plain titmouse is Parus inornatus; the tufted, P. bicolor—both of the family Paridae.