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threatened and/or endangered

Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus


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Bushtit collectin nesting material
credit: Eyesplash/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Aegithalidae, Bushtits view all from this family

Description ADULT Interior subspecies has mostly uniformly blue-gray upperparts, darkest on primaries and tail; subtly browner patch on ear coverts can usually be discerned. Underparts are pale gray. Legs and bill are dark. Pacific coast subspecies is similar, but with brown cap. Note that many adult Mexican birds have a black mask (so-called "Blackeared Bushtit"); this feature is sometimes seen in juvenile males in southwestern U.S. JUVENILE Similar to respective adults, although initially female has dark eye.

Dimensions Length: 3 3/4-4" (10 cm)

Habitat Fairly common and generally rather sedentary resident of chaparral, and various wooded and scrub habitats in southwest.

Observation Tips Presence often first detected by noting contact calls uttered by members of roving flocks.

Range Rocky Mountains, California, Western Canada, Northwest, Southwest, Plains, Texas

Voice Utters a range of buzzing and thin chipping notes.

Discussion Endearing little short-winged, long-tailed bird, with a rounded head and stubby, pointed bill. Outside breeding season, often found in active, acrobatic flocks. Sexes are similar, but iris of male is dark, while that of female is whitish. Subspecies variation in plumage exists.