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Species Guide
A photo of a Oak Titmouse (Baeolophus inornatus)
Oak Titmouse

Oak Titmouse

Baeolophus inornatus

The oak titmouse, known scientifically as Baeolophus inornatus, is a modestly adorned bird, cloaked in a brown-tinged gray plumage. It sports a small tuft or crest atop its head, and its face is unadorned with markings, while the undersides are a paler shade of gray. Both males and females are similarly attired, exhibiting very little, if any, sexual dimorphism.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the oak titmouse, look for its small size and the subtle crest on its head. Its overall gray coloration with a brownish tinge, especially on the back, and its plain face without strong markings are key characteristics. The bird's lighter gray undersides can also assist in its identification.


The oak titmouse is a denizen of open woodlands, showing a preference for the warm, dry environments of oak and oak-pine forests. It thrives at low to mid-elevations but is also comfortable in forests with a sufficient presence of oak trees.


This species is a year-round resident of the Pacific slope, with its range extending from southern Oregon through California, west of the Sierra Nevada, and down to Baja California. It notably circumvents the central San Joaquin Valley.


The oak titmouse is a bird that values its privacy, often roosting in cavities, dense foliage, or birdhouses. It forms pairs or small groups, eschewing the formation of large flocks. After the breeding season, it may join mixed-species flocks for foraging. Notably, pairs remain together beyond the breeding season.

Song & Calls

The vocal repertoire of the oak titmouse includes a song composed of repeated phrases, each containing two or three notes with the final note dropping in pitch. Typically, three to seven phrases are strung together. Its call is a distinctive, scratchy "tsicka-dee-dee."


Breeding season for the oak titmouse spans from March to July, peaking in April and May. Nests are constructed in woodpecker holes, natural cavities, or nest boxes, and are lined with an assortment of grass, moss, mud, hair, feathers, and fur. The female lays 3–9 eggs, often 6–8, and is the primary incubator over a period of 14–16 days. The altricial young are tended by both parents in the nest for 16–21 days, with continued care for an additional three to four weeks post-fledging.

Similar Species

The oak titmouse is nearly a doppelganger for the juniper titmouse, though they can be distinguished by their vocalizations and slight differences in range and back coloration. The tufted titmouse, which does not share its range, can be identified by its whiter belly, rusty flanks, and a black forehead.

Diet and Feeding

An insectivorous bird, the oak titmouse also indulges in spiders, occasionally capturing them mid-flight. It supplements its diet with berries, acorns, and some seeds. It forages adeptly on foliage, twigs, branches, and trunks, and will even forage on the ground. It is known to hang upside down to forage and to hammer seeds against branches to open them. At feeders, it is attracted to suet, peanut butter, and sunflower seeds.

Conservation status

The oak titmouse is currently classified as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating that it does not face immediate threats to its survival.

Oak Titmouse Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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Oak Titmice on Birda


More Tits, Chickadees

A photo of a Black-crested Titmouse (Baeolophus atricristatus)

Black-crested Titmouse

Baeolophus atricristatus
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