Juniper Titmouse (Baeolophus ridgwayi)
Associated Species: Other species that may use habitat in a similar way and/or respond similarly
to threats, management, and conservation activities include Hairy Woodpecker, Ash-throated
Flycatcher, Mountain Chickadee, and White-breasted Nuthatch.
Distribution: The range of the Juniper Titmouse extends from the eastern slope of the Sierra
Nevada eastward across most of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and into western and southern
Colorado. They nest in pinyon-juniper woodlands in western and southeastern Colorado. They
seem not to inhabit the pinyon-juniper belt encircling the San Luis Valley.
Habitat Requirements: Juniper Titmice reside throughout the year in pinyon-juniper
woodlands; few species are as closely tied to a single habitat. They rely on the dense canopies
for predator protection and will forage on the ground only where the understory and ground
cover are thin (Ryser 1985). They will wander briefly into adjacent habitats to gather food, but
nearly all nests are located in pinyon-juniper (Kingery 1998). They seem to use nearly all of the
many variations of pinyon-juniper habitats from thin, scattered stands of juniper at its lower limits
to very dense stands of predominately pinyon pine heavily mixed with deciduous shrubbery at its
Ecology: Juniper Titmice may form permanent pair bonds and may defend territories throughout
the year (Ryser 1985). They nest in knotholes and other natural or woodpecker-excavated
cavities 1-3 m (3-10 ft) above the ground; the birds often partially excavate the nest hole. They
construct their nest of moss, grass, and forbs and line it with fur and feathers (Ehrlich 1988).
They begin to incubate in May and most young hatch in early June. Most young leave the nest by
late June or early July. Titmice forage by gleaning insects from the bark of small branches and
twigs within the canopy. They also take insect galls, fruit, seeds, and other vegetable matter when
available. In winter, titmice often join mixed-species foraging flocks (Ryser 1985).
Management Issues and Conservation Recommendations: Titmice require mature pinyon and
juniper trees for foraging and nesting cover. Manage for large size-class junipers to benefit this
Status and Reasons for Concern: This species has a high conservation need locally and
throughout its range. The Colorado Plateau has the highest area responsibility for Juniper Titmice
with more than 40% of their range falling within the physiographic area. In Physiographic Area
87, BBS data do not show a statistically significant annual rate of change between 1966 and 1996
(P = 0.47, n = 29 routes). Between 1988 and 1997 an average of 11.4 BBS transects were run in
Physiographic Area 87 (SE = 1.55). This species is monitored by MCB with point transects.
Biological Objective: Increase the species' distribution and abundance, based upon results of the
BBS and MCB monitoring programs. A pinyon-juniper woodland MCB point count average of
0.08 or better occurrence rate per point would indicate adequate population densities.
Selected References: Andrews and Righter 1992, Ehrlich 1988, Kingery 1998, Ryser 1985.