Juniper Titmouse (Baeolophus griseus)

Associated Species: Other species that may use similar habitat components or respond positively to management for the Juniper Titmouse are: Ash-throated Flycatcher, Gray Vireo, Pinyon Jay, Western Scrub Jay, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Western Bluebird, Scott’s Oriole.

Distribution: Resident from southeastern Oregon, northeastern Nevada, southeastern Idaho, southern Wyoming, central Colorado, and extreme Oklahoma south (east of the Sierra Nevada) to southeastern California, central and southeastern Arizona, extreme northeastern Sonora, southern New Mexico, and extreme western Texas (AOU 1998). In Arizona, it is a fairly common to common resident in the northeastern, northern, central, and locally southeastern portions of the state. The range extends west to Mount Trumbull and the Cerbat, Hualapi, Bradshaw, Superstition, Galiuro, and Chiricahua Mountains (Monson and Phillips 1981).

Ecology: An obligate inhabitant of pinyon-juniper woodlands (Andrews and Righter 1992, Behle 1985, Phillips and others 1964, Small 1994). Occurs as singles or pairs and does not typically form conspecific flocks although it does occur in mixed-species flocks (Phillips and others 1964). Balda (1987) states that Juniper Titmouse are "major pine seed predators" that may consume "large numbers of seeds." Bradfield (1974) observed it feeding on juniper seeds in the fall. It is likely largely insectivorous during the warmer half of the year. An obligate secondary cavity nester. Of 13 active nests found as part of the Arizona Breeding Bird Atlas, nine (79 %) were in junipers (T. Corman, AGFD, pers. observ.). Nesting dates ranged from 15 May to 30 June. Nest cavity heights were from 1.12 m to 4.40 m. The diameter (dbh) of the nest trees varied from 14-48 cm (5.5-1.5 in). It is probably not subject to brood parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds. Breeding densities from three study sites over two years in central Arizona ranged from 28.7 to 52.0 pairs per 40 ha (100 ac) which made up 23.5% to 43.6% of the total breeding bird density (Masters 1979). In a similarly study using identical methods in northeastern Arizona (LaRue 1994) reported 7.6 to 11.5 pairs per 40 hectares comprising 7.4% to 17.7% of the total breeding bird density.

Habitat Requirements: The Juniper Titmouse is highly restricted to pinyon-juniper woodlands (Andrews and Righter 1992, Balda and Masters 1980, Behle 1985, Bradfield 1974, Phillips and others 1964, Small 1994). It occasionally wanders into other habitats (usually riparian) within its range that are adjacent to or near pinyon-juniper woodlands during the nonbreeding season (Andrews and Righter 1992, Bradfield 1974, Brown and others 1984, Phillips and others 1964, Small 1994, Sogge and others 1998). The Juniper Titmouse is virtually unknown as a transient outside of the range cited above (Rea 1983, Rosenberg and others 1991, Witzeman and others 1997). Tree density in two Pinyon-juniper breeding bird investigations that examined stands supporting breeding titmice (LaRue 1994, Masters 1980) ranged from 155 to 380 trees per hectare. Canopy cover of one study (LaRue 1994) varied from 11% to 26%. Combined, these studies indicate that the proportion of the breeding bird density the titmouse contributes to tends to drop with increasing tree density, increasing total bird density, increasing proportion of junipers, and increasing canopy cover.

Habitat and/or Population Objectives:

Population Objective

1. Maintain a stable or increasing population trend within current range and distribution.


Management Issues with Conservation Recommendations

Formerly known as Plain Titmouse (Parus inornatus). However it has recently been split (AOU 1997) into two species, with the interior forms being called the Juniper Titmouse and those populations west of the Sierra Nevada called the Oak Titmouse (B. inornatus). Most available information on the "Plain Titmouse" (e.g. Ehrlich and others 1988) is based on studies of the Oak Titmouse in California. Therefore, little is known specifically for the Juniper Titmouse. Because it is clearly associated with mature pinyon-juniper woodlands, management activities that favor these stands will benefit this species. Investigations to determine specific habitat requirements and basic natural history are needed.

Juniper Titmouse management issues are listed in italics. Below each issue are the Arizona Partners in Flight Conservation Recommendations.

Habitat Loss

1. Discourage clearing of large mature tracts of habitat.

2. Encourage small-scale opening of habitat.


Recommended Research

1. Determine specific habitat requirements, habitat use and basic natural history for this subspecies.