Vancouver Avian Research Centre

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Species: Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus


The only long tailed tit (family Aegilhalidea) to reside in North America. The Pacific Populations are brownish overall, with a contrasting dark brown crown and obvious dark lores. Interior populations tend to be, over all, paler and grayer.


General A small long tailed ball of fluff with a short neck and stubby black bill. Average length 4.5” (11 cm) Weight 0.3 oz. (05.3 gr.)
Adult Male Dark brown crown, dark lores, dark brown eyes, brownish back and long tail. No wing bars, bill is short stubby and black.
South Western populations may have a black facemask, and the rare Black Eared morph can be found above the 5000 ft. elevation.

Adult female: Have cream to yellow eyes distinguishing them from the male or juvenile birds, otherwise sexes are similar.

Juvenile Male: Both male and female juveniles have dark brown eyes.
Plumage nondescript, but with a possibly pale whiter throat area.

Juvenile female: Same as juvenile male

Similar Species: North Western regions Mountain Chickadee and Chestnut-backed Chickadee, South Western regions Verdin and Gnatcatchers.

Behavior: Out of breeding season usually in groups of 5-25 or more, often with other species of birds. When breeding Bush Tits are solitary birds. Though non-migratory they will move down slope for wintering purposes. The song is a trill like excited twitter.

Habitat: Bush Tits are foragers therefore mixed woodlands or scrubby areas, that harbor insects, their larvae and eggs along with some fruit and berries ,are required for a staple diet.


The nest can be found 4-25 ft. above the ground. It is jug shaped hanging pouch made by weaving material and twigs into the supporting branches of a tree or bush. It is lined with plant-down, wool, hair and feathers. Eggs 5-7 per clutch, white, unmarked and oval shaped.
Note: If disturbed while nest building or laying a pair will often leave the nest site completely and will possibly change mates before building a new nest.

Conservation Status:

Bush Tits currently maintain a status of least concern.
Capture Rates

Capture rates of Bushtit (2010-2012; standardized as birds captured per 100 net hours) occur starting in spring then peak in summer through fall (June - Oct). Very social birds, bushtits live year-round in flocks of 3 to 40 birds however can move substantial distances to escape cold weather, as suggested by our zero capture rates between November – March.


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