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Juniper Titmouse Baeolophus ridgwayi (Parus ridgway)


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Juniper Titmouse
credit: Tony Randell/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Alternate name: Plain Titmouse

Family: Paridae, Chickadees and Titmice view all from this family

Description ADULT Has soft gray upperparts, including the tail; these lack the warm brown hue seen in Oak Titmouse. Dark eye is emphasized by the rather pale face. Underparts are pale gray with a subtle pinkish or buffy wash sometimes visible on the flanks. Bill is pointed and gray, and legs are gray. JUVENILE Similar to adult.

Dimensions Length: 5 3/4" (15 cm)

Habitat Widespread and fairly common resident. Typically associated with open juniper woodland, often on mountain slopes, but sometimes also in other woodland habitats outside the breeding season.

Observation Tips Geographical range is the best pointer to identification in the first instance. In the few areas where both species might occur, concentrate on assessing the plumage hue (brownish in Oak and plain gray in Juniper).

Range California, Rocky Mountains, Northwest, Texas, Southwest

Voice Song is varied and generally lower pitched than Oak Titmouse with phrases often delivered in threes, e.g. whidlidli-whidlidli-whidlidli; call is a sharp tsi-chk-chk.

Discussion Extremely similar to Oak Titmouse, and formerly considered to be conspecific and called Plain Titmouse. Geographical range is the best initial clue to separation from Oak Titmouse, since there is little overlap. If you are already familiar with Oak then you will notice subtle differences in plumage and voice. Juniper is slightly larger than Oak and bill is subtly longer. Often found in small family groups outside the breeding season and sometimes mixes with other species in roving flocks in winter. Sexes are similar.