Black-Crested Titmouse

Baeolophus atricristatus
Range Map

We once considered these birds a subspecies of the Tufted Titmouse. In 2002, scientists gave this South Texas and North-East Mexican specialty full “species status”. So closely related are these two species, they will occasionally interbreed where their territories overlap.

When I first heard its song, I could not believe so small a bird could have such a loud voice. These birds prefer wooded or thornbush habitats, but are comfortable in urbanized areas too. They behave as all titmice do at feeders, snatching a seed and retreating to a nearby perch to hammer away until releasing the prize.

Despite the limited range of these birds, scientists have assigned three subspecies of Black-Crested Titmouse:

  • B. a. atricristatus lives in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and south to Veracruz (Mexico).
  • B. a. sennetti is resident in Oklahoma and central Texas.
  • B. a. paloduro is resident in the Hill Country of West Texas and northern Mexico.

There are several birds in south Texas found nowhere else in the USA, such as the Ringed Kingfisher, Green Jay, Couch’s Kingbird, Plain Chachalaca, and the list goes on. The Black-Crested Titmouse is one such iconic bird. Though they range a little further north than some of the other birds on the list, Texas hosts nearly every individual member north of the Rio Grande.

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