AskDefine | Define bushtit

Dictionary Definition

bushtit n : active gray titmice of western North America [syn: bush tit]

Extensive Definition

The Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus) is a long-tailed tit found in North America. It is the only species in the family found in the New World, and the only member of the genus Psaltriparus.
The Bushtit inhabits mixed open woodlands, often containing oaks and a scrubby understory. It is a year-round resident of the western United States and highland parts of Mexico, ranging from Vancouver through the Great Basin and the lowlands and foothills of California to southern Mexico and Guatemala.
The Bushtit is one of the smallest passerines in North America, at 11 cm in length and 5.3 g in weight. It is gray-brown overall, with a large head, a short neck, a long tail, and a short stubby bill. The male has dark eyes and the adult female, yellow.
The Bushtit is active and gregarious, foraging for small insects and spiders in mixed-species feeding flocks containing species such as chickadees and warblers, of 10 to over 40 individuals. Members of the group constantly make contact calls to each other that can be described as a short tsit.
As the "plain" Bushtit form lacks major identifying markings, it is often identified by their shape, calls, and behaviors.

Black-eared Bushtit

The "Black-eared" Bushtit was formerly considered a separate species (P. melanotis). It can be identified by its dark ear patch (the auricular). This polymorphism does not occur in the northern part of the Bushtits' range, but is first noted near the Mexican border, primarily in Texas. Most individuals with the black ear patch in that area are juvenile males, and none are adult females – some have only one or two dark lines on the face instead of a complete patch. The Black-eared form becomes more common southward in the northeastern (but not the northwestern) highlands of Mexico until from central Mexico south, all males have a complete black ear patch and even adult females have a black arc over the eye and usually a black line through the eye.

References

  • Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and Northern Central America
  • The Sibley Guide to Birds

External links

bushtit in French: Mésange buissonnière
bushtit in Japanese: ヤブガラ
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