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Black-crested Titmouse

These birds are really social and are often seen in pairs or small groups.

Despite hybridization with the Tufted Titmouse in central Texas, differences in genetics and vocalizations as well as in appearance, and a tendency for mating with like individuals resulted in the Black-crested Titmouse gaining full species status in 2002. The Black-crested Titmouse is non-migratory, and reaches the northern extent of its range in southwestern Oklahoma.

Much additional study of the Black-crested Titmouse is needed, but based on information known about the closely related Tufted Titmouse, a typical lifespan is probably about 2 years, with a few individuals probably living well past 10 years of age.


Description of the Black-crested Titmouse


The Black-crested Titmouse is grayish above and whitish below, with reddish flanks and a black crest.  Length: 6 in.  Wingspan: 9 in.

Black-crested Titmouse


Sexes similar.

Seasonal change in appearance



Similar to adults but with less reddish on the flanks.


Woodlands and suburban areas.


Insects, acorns, seeds, and berries.

Black-crested Titmouse

Photograph © Alan Wilson.


Forages in trees.


Resident from southwestern Oklahoma south to Mexico. Population is stable.

Fun Facts

The Black-crested Titmouse was formerly considered to be the same species as the Tufted Titmouse.

The Black-crested Titmouse fights less often than the Tufted Titmouse, relying instead on vocalizations and displays to settle disputes.


The song is often described as “peter-peter-peter.” A variety of call notes are also given.


The Black-crested Titmouse will come to bird feeders for seeds and will use nest boxes.


Similar Species

Tufted Titmouse
The Tufted Titmouse has a gray rather than black crest.



The nest is a cup of hair and plant material placed in a cavity.

Number: 4-7.
Color: Whitish with darker markings.

Incubation and fledging:
– Young hatch at 12-14 days.
– Young fledge (leave the nest) 15-16 days after hatching but remain with the adults for some time.


Bent Life History of the Black-crested Titmouse

See the Tufted Titmouse, the two were previously considered the same species.

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.

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