Psaltriparus minimusbushtit

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Geographic Range

The Bushtit lives throughout the western coast of the North American continent. It ranges from southern Canada to Central America.(Harwood,1982)

Habitat

These birds live from woodland to drier areas in the Arizona region. Bushtits are normally found in pinyon-juniper habitats and near wooded riverbeds. This bird is also found in tree-lined riverbanks, hillside aspen groves, sagebrush, and mountain-mahogany forests. (Fisher, 2000)

Physical Description

The Bushtit is a small grayish bird with a long tail. Depending on where you see these birds, their facial colors and features differ. Most have brown caps. In the Rocky Mountain area it has a gray cap and brown cheeks. (Harwood, 1982)

  • Average mass
    5.5 g
    0.19 oz
  • Average mass
    5.5 g
    0.19 oz
    AnAge
  • Average basal metabolic rate
    0.122375 W
    AnAge

Reproduction

The nest of the Bushtit is made from wool, lichens, roots and twigs. The nest hangs from a tree or bush. Within the nest are two to seven white eggs. The incubation period for the eggs is about twelve days. (Fisher, 2000)

  • Average eggs per season
    6
    AnAge
  • Average time to hatching
    12 days
    AnAge

Lifespan/Longevity

Behavior

Bushtits travel in flocks most of the year. In these flocks they help one another with tasks such as nest building or defending their territory. These flocks, or bands, contain up to forty birds. The Bushtit is very active and doesn't stay in one area for very long. They stay close enough together that little chirps keep them in contact with each other. One can see these birds in an area and all of a sudden they disappear and re-emerge a couple hundred yards away from where they were last seen. (eNature.com, 2000)

Communication and Perception

Food Habits

The Bushtit feeds on insects and spiders that live in surrounding shrubs and trees in its habitat. It also feeds on small seeds from fruits.(Fisher,2000)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

As a song bird, the Bushtit is favored on the west coast of the North American continent for its enjoyable song. Since their diet includes insects, they eat certain insects that could be pests to humans. (eNature.com, 2000)

Conservation Status

The Bushtit, with few natural predators, flourishes in its natural habitat and has no need for extensive preservation. (Fisher, 2000)

Contributors

Kip Conley (author), Milford High School, George Campbell (editor), Milford High School.

Glossary

Nearctic

living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map

acoustic

uses sound to communicate

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

endothermic

animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.

iteroparous

offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

mountains

This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

oviparous

reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

tactile

uses touch to communicate

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.

savanna

A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.

visual

uses sight to communicate

References

Fisher, C. "Long Pine Guide To Birds Of The Rocky Mountains" (On-line). Accessed October 22, 2000 at http://207.34.92.247/birdsite/brdpgs/743.htm.

Harwood, M., T. Burke, G. Fichter, S. Kaicher, P. Lehman. 1982. North American Wildlife. Pleasantville, New York Montreal: Reader's Digest.

eNature.com, 2000. "eNature.com Nature Guides" (On-line). Accessed October 31, 2000 at http://www.enature.com.