Bushtit

Psaltriparus minimus TAXONOMY

Psaltriparus minimus Townsend, 1837. Eleven subspecies recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Common bushtit, black-eared bushtit; French: Mésange masquée; German: Buschmeise; Spanish: Satrecito Común.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

4-4.5 in (10-11.4 cm); 0.18-0.21 oz (5-6 g). Tiny birds with a variable plumage range. Generally gray above with paler gray underparts. Coastal birds have brown caps and black-eared forms have black masks extending back to ear coverts.

DISTRIBUTION

Western United States (extending a little northward into Canada) and Mexico.

HABITAT

Deciduous and mixed woodlands, parks, and gardens. BEHAVIOR

A gregarious and active species that forages in large flocks. Roosts communally, as with other bushtits.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds on insects, spiders, seed, and fruit.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nests January to June. Nest cucumber-shaped construction of twigs, moss, and lichen hung from the end of a branch. Clutch 5-7, incubation 12 days, fledging 14-15 days. Occasionally parents will be helped by other birds, as in long-tailed tits.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. Common, and increasing in some parts of its range.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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