Oak Titmouse

Baeolophus inornatus

Formerly lumped with the Juniper Titmouse as the species known appropriately as Plain Titmouse, the Oak Titmouse is small drab bird whose small head tuft is nearly its only field mark.

Cool Facts

Photo taken from:
The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America by David Allen Sibley
  • The Oak Titmouse sleeps in cavities or in dense foliage. When roosting in foliage, the titmouse chooses a twig surrounded by dense foliage or an accumulation of dead pine needles, simulating a roost in a cavity.
  • The Oak Titmouse mates for life, and pairs defend year-round territories. Most titmice find a mate in their first fall. Those that do not are excluded from territories and must live in marginal habitat until they find a vacancy.
  • The Oak Titmouse, unlike other members of the family, does not form flocks in winter.
  • A group of titmice are collectively known as a "banditry" and a "dissimulation" of titmice.


Adult Description

  • Small gray bird with small tuft on head.

Immature Description

Juvenile similar to adult, but feathers are softer and more loosely textured.
Range Map
Taxonomic Hierarchy


© 2003 Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
     Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Paridae
Genus: Baeolophus
Species: Baeolophus inornatus
  • Baeolophus inornatus affabilis
  • Baeolophus inornatus cineraceus
  • Baeolophus inornatus inornatus
  • Baeolophus inornatus mohavensis
Song a series of repeated whistled notes, with first syllable higher in pitch than the following one. Calls a scratchy "tsicka-dee-dee."

Identification and Information
See Anatomy of a Bird
  • Length Range: 13 cm (5.25 in)
  • Weight: 20 g (0.7 oz)
  • Size: Small (5 - 9 in)
  • Color Primary: Gray
  • Underparts: Pale Gray
  • Upperparts: Gray-brown
  • Back Pattern: Solid
  • Belly Pattern: Solid
  • Breast Pattern: Solid
  • Bill Shape: All-purpose
  • Eye Color: Brown.
  • Head Pattern: Plain, Crested or plumed
  • Crown Color: Gray-brown
  • Forehead Color: Gray-brown
  • Nape Color: Gray-brown
  • Throat Color: Pale Gray
  • Cere color: No Data
  • Flight Pattern: Weak fluttering flight with shallow wing beats.
  • Wingspan Range: 19 cm (7.5 in)
  • Wing Shape: Rounded-Wings
  • Tail Shape: Fan-shaped Tail
  • Tail Pattern: Solid
  • Upper Tail: Gray-brown
  • Under Tail: Gray-brown
  • Leg Color: Gray-black
  • Breeding Location: Forest edge
  • Breeding Type: Monogamous, Solitary nester
  • Breeding Population: Stable
  • Egg Color: White, sometimes with red brown spots
  • Number of Eggs: 6 - 8
  • Incubation Days: 14 - 16
  • Egg Incubator: Female
  • Nest Material: Grass and moss lined with bark, feathers, and hair.
  • Migration: Nonmigratory
  • Condition at Hatching: Helpless.

Other Names

Similar Species

  • Mésange unicolore (French)
  • Nearly identical to Juniper Titmouse. Slightly larger; more brown on back. Ranges overlap only in small area in California.
  • Tufted Titmouse, which does not overlap in range, has whiter belly, rusty flanks, and black on the forehead.

Conservation Status

Oak woodlands in California are under threat of development.


Sources used to Construct this Page:

Warm, dry oak and oak-pine woodlands at low to mid-elevations.
  • Cicero, C. 2000. Oak Titmouse (Baeolophus inornatus) and Juniper Titmouse (Baeolophus ridgwayi). In The Birds of North America, No. 485 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.). The Birds of North America, Inc., Philadelphia, PA.
Seeds and terrestrial invertebrates. Uses bird feeders.
Gleans insects from bark and foliage. Hangs upside down. Hammers seeds against branch to open them.

Adult Sexes Similar

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Additional Photos & Video

Adult Sexes Similar


All photos © 2008 Rick Swartzentrover - Free for non-profit use.

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