Skip to main content

Photo Submission

Submitted By

lynn traceski

Newington, CT, United States


Seen this little guy on a log floating in a pond. Looks like a Tufted Titmice minus the Tuft, Not sure if it is a deformity, or if it is another species all together. I searched in books and online and cannot come up with anything, I don’t even see any indications that the tuft is flattened (like how Cardinals some times flatten their crest). Im at a loss with the bird. If anyone can help clarify what it is I would appreciate it. I have not received my kit in the mail so I don’t have my ID # yet to go into the unusual bird part of the site. Thanks!!!

Non-Tufted Titmice

Non Tufted Titmice? Didn't get ID in mail yet so cant go into unusual bird area and ask. This looks like a Tufted Titmice but there is no Tuft. Looked it up in books and I come up with nothing. But the coloring, shape, etc is identical. Its just missing the Tuft. Can someone please help me figure out what species this bird is? Thanks!

29 replies on “Non-Tufted Titmice”

Dori says:

I have one in my feeder for 2 years. We always have many at my feeder all winter but in summer they leave and this one stays all summer.

Catherine Blyth says:

I’m glad to find this. I just had a whole lot of them at the bird feeder. And one among them did have a crest. They really took over the joint and were quite rambunctious! I live in Ft. Wayne IN and it’s July, although I have seen them earlier this summer but couldn’t figure out what they were.

Holly Faulkner says:

Hi Lynn, This is a Tufted Titmouse. Titmice can lower or raise their crests at any time, and this one likely has their crest laying flat against their head. It’s also possible that it is molting those feathers in particular, so it appears as though there is no crest at all. If you see it again without the crest at a different time of year, this means either it, again, has it’s crest down, or it may be an individual that simply did not grow a crest, though this is much more unlikely. Let us know if you have further questions at
-Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant.

I have a couple of these that I see as well and I’m in Maine. I had just assumed at first that they were the female titmouse but learned later male and female are the same. I can see when they lay the crest down and it’s still a bit darker also, the ones I am seeing it’s just smooth and light grey no crest laying flat as I’ve had a good look at them so maybe there are some here and there that just don’t get the tuft. But most definitely are titmice as they all swoop in together most all have tuft but 2 or 3 do not and to those that have seen them it stands out that they are different, the molting makes sense also that they lose and then regrow.

so glad to find this. I’ve been seeing this bird here in my yard in Asheville NC and like everyone else I’ve been frustrated trying to identify it in books. I’d come to the same conclusions and am glad to be substantiated. I’m a very amateur birder and am trying to learn.

Susan Smith says:

I am new to Waynesville, NC and I’m enjoying all the activity at my bird feeders. Cardinals, gold finches, a little squirrel ? and a female hummingbird. Yesterday, four of these titmouse birds came in like wildfire. They put their crests up only occasionally. I was wondering if they were juveniles who had not developed the strength to hold their crests up?

Nancy B Weinreich says:

This helps alot.I have a nest with moss hanging out and it looks like a titmouse with no crest.

Laurie Phillips says:

I live in St. Albans, MO, (SW of St. Louis) and have had one at my finch feeder for several days. I, too, scoured my bird books to identify him but it has all the markings of the Tufted Titmouse sans the tuft! Glad there are others who have seen similar birds.

Peg Morrison says:

I have seen the tuftless titmouse as well in Raleigh, NC. Good to hear others are seeing the same.

Lauri says:

I have some non-tufted titmouse in Knoxville. I know by birds and these do no have tufts!

Susan Truitt says:

So I’m not crazy. Glad to hear my story from so many others! I live it Osterville, MA on Cape Cod.

SM Snedeker says:

I am wondering if the bird could be a female blue-gray gnatcatcher. Looks like a fat titmouse with no tuft but has a very pointy beak like a wren. But what I saw this morning (hopping on the ground and grabbing onto feeder poles) was the size of an Eastern phoebe, but definitely gray, not brown. Ithaca NY

Holly Faulkner, Project Assistant says:

Hello, The bird in this photo is a Tufted Titmouse – they can raise or lower their crest at anytime. This one could also be molting those particular feathers, or perhaps be an individual that didn’t grow a crest to begin with. The bird you’re describing on the other hand could be a young Northern Mockingbird, or any number of other young birds that are frequenting feeders this time of year. We encourage you to use the Merlin Bird ID app if you like – just answer 5 simple questions and the app will return a list of possible species. You can download it here onto your device, or you can try out the web version on this page – click the “Bird ID” tab.

Kay Johnson says:

I’m grateful to have found this thread. I’ve had one particular bird at my feeder for the past couple of months. It looks like a tufted titmouse, but doesn’t display a tuft. I’ve been flummoxed trying to find a positive ID. But thanks to this page, I’ve learned that they often keep their tuft down. Thanks for helping me solve the mystery.

Nora Cannon says:

I use the Merlin app (love it!) and struggled to ID a couple of my untufted friends, albeit Tufted Titmouse certainly was the best match on the app — just no tuft so was not confident. Perhaps another pic on the app showing a tuft-less pose? (Reboboth Beach, Delaware)

Judy LeBlanc says:

I live in Florida, south of Ocala and north of Orlando. I saw, for the second time in just over a year, what looks to me like a tuft-less titmouse only smaller than the chickadees and a little larger than the hummingbirds that I have seen here. Thank you all for your comments, very helpful.

Shelly Martineau says:

I am seeing these birds at my feeder in West Georgia. I came to the same conclusion. They seem to be Tufted Titmice, without the tuft. However, on occasion I am able to discern what appears to be be an almost imperceptible tuft.

Karen Plautz says:

I have some at the feeder in WV and wondered too.

Karen Plautz says:

Saw some in WV and wondered

Vicki says:

I have found same bird in Milford, Pa. There are at least two of them that come to the songbird feeder everyday. Kind of look like they could be Nuthatches because of head and neck but not the markings of a Nuthatch. They are also similar to Tuft titmice without the tuft but again head and neck and body are not round like Tufted Titmice

Maggie Edmondson says:

I’ve been wondering if the tufted titmouse can lower its crest. I was also trying to figure out what the bird might be that had the same coloring and the big black eye as the titmouse. Then several times I saw a tufted titmouse perched above our feeders with the crest up, but when it was feeding I couldn’t see a crest. Is this something they do?

Irene Murto says:

Mason, NH, I have several of these tuftless titmouse, definitely no tuft. Have been searching bird books with no luck.

Carol Cecchini says:

Just this week a tuftless tufted titmouse came to my feeder. I’m happy to get all the answers. Big round eyes and still a cutie.

Betty says:

I have one that looks like a titmouse, no tuft and eats hanging upside down. Have wondered what it is

Me says:

Perhaps a dark eyed junco?

Kay says:

I live in the San Bernardino mountains in southern California, where the Oak Titmouse is endemic. I just had a pair of birds on my deck railing drinking from some water bowls. They were light grey all over with some slight variations, prominent black eyes, about 7-8 inches long, and looked identical to photos of Oak Titmice EXCEPT that they had no crests. After reading other entries and looking at other possibilities, I am convinced that they were in fact Oak Titmice. Very sweet.

Loquin says:

Wake County NC, and have also been baffled by this tuftless bird!! I have a lot of tufted titmice at my feeder and can tell when their tufts are down. This one little friend has been confusing me for ages! Season is wrong for juncos and in any case my little friend doesn’t look like one. Their beak is shorter than any other gray bird, quite finch like I have a nest of titmice in one of my boxes, and at least two cardinal families (guessing by the number of juveniles). My feeders are very popular, and I get all number of birds, it would be too many to list here.

Andy Degnan says:

Today I also observed several titmice without their tufts. I zoomed in close and did see loose feathers right where the tuft would be. I think that supports the molting of feathers theory very good. I’m gonna pay attention next year end of July and see if I observe the same thing. The Blue jays molt around here end of August so why not titmice end of July?

Mrs. Raines says:

Notice if wing/body feathers on your tuft-less titmice and other birds are shedding more than usual. If so, parasites could be the cause.

Nits/lice and mites can cause feathers to molt, one area at a time (if molting occurred all at once, it would affect flight and temperature regulation)(small amounts of mites are normal).

Avian parasites spread through contact with other birds and feeders, especially those kept up all year and cleaned irregularly. Molting of feathers helps reduce an infestation.

I started seeing tuft-less titmice at my feeders in 2023, at least two without crests. They and several other visiting birds were starting to look shaggy from feather loss, but everyone has gotten better since I started following good birding practices…

1) I do not feed from end of March to early December to prevent the spread of critters and disease (I know, I hate it too : ( ).

2) During feeding season, sanitize feeders weekly.

A thought: are bird parasites spreading more easily, living longer and replicating more due to warmer temperatures? I’ve seen very little molting in all my birding years (~20), and didn’t clean my feeders much in the past. So before 2023 I should’ve had issues due to poor practices, but the birds seemed fine until recently.

Conclusion: clean feeders every 7-10 days, and skip feeding April through November. That will help whenever parasites are an issue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Nearby Submissions
Recently Liked