Bridled titmouse

Baeolophus wollweberi

SUBFAMILY

Parinae

TAXONOMY

Parus wollweberi Bonaparte, 1850. Four subspecies. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Mésange arlequin; German: Zügelmeise; Spanish: Herrerillo Enmascarado.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

4 in (10 cm); 0.3-0.4 oz (8-12 g). Head with striking black and white pattern, and with gray crown edged black, forming crest; sexes similar.

DISTRIBUTION

B. w. vandevenderi: central Arizona to southwest New Mexico, United States; B. w. phillipsi: southeastern Arizona to Sonora, Mexico; B. w. wollweberi: Mexico; B. w. caliginosus: southwestern Mexico.

HABITAT

Mid- to high-elevation woodlands of oak and pine, often mixed with juniper. At lower elevations, savanna-like oak woodlands are occupied, as are open grassland areas with scattered deciduous trees and juniper.

BEHAVIOR

Territorial in the breeding season, but in winter joins mixed-species flocks occupying a home range. Birds at higher elevations may move to lower areas in winter. Song is simple, but is given frequently during breeding period.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forages throughout tree canopy at all times, and also frequently on ground in winter. Diet is mainly insects, but will eat pulp of acorns and in some habitats spiders become an important food. Not known to store food.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

A hole-nesting species, but does not excavate own cavity. Eggs are laid April to June and second clutches are laid only if first is lost. Clutch size is typically five to seven eggs. Females incubate 13-14 days followed by 18-20 days till fledging. In North America, the bridled titmouse is the only tit species to have a helper breeding system.

CONSERVATION STATUS

A species with a restricted range, but common within this range, reaching densities of 7.7-10.3 birds/25 acres (10 ha) in summer. Loss and fragmentation of oak woodlands due to conversion to arable land known to have caused decline in central Mexico.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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