Ask the Experts: What is the Plural of Titmouse?

Updated: Mar. 18, 2024

Is it titmice or titmouses? What is the correct plural of titmouse? Learn what to say if you see a pair of these cute songbirds.

Is the Plural of Titmouse Titmice or Titmouses?

Pair of Birds With A PeanutSteveByland/Getty Images
A pair of tufted titmouses

Question: In an ornithology college course, I was told that the plural of titmouse is always titmouses, not titmice. Which is correct? —Jim Worrell of Raleigh, North Carolina

Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman: The word titmouse doesn’t have any connection to the rodents called mice. Instead, the second syllable is based on the Old English word mase, which means “small bird.” Technically, there’s no reason why mouse and mice should match titmouse and titmice. A purist would probably say titmouses is correct. On the other hand, a couple of major dictionaries (and bird field guides) give titmice as plural. So you can probably get away with either!

Read more! Attract titmice to your backyard.

Seed Smugglers

plural of titmouseCourtesy Mar Sension
A tufted titmouse picks up a seed in winter.

As summer turns to fall, titmice (or is it titmouses?) switch up their diet from insects to seeds, nuts and berries. They take full advantage of feeders and spirit away seeds to store for winter.

Learn how to identify a tufted titmouse.

Each month, Birds & Blooms readers send in their burning questions to birding experts, Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman, who are the duo behind the Kaufman Field Guide series. They speak and lead bird trips all over the world.

Got a bird question for Kenn and Kimberly? Submit your questions here! They may appear here or in a future issue of the magazine.