Poecile atricapillus
(Black-capped Chickadee)

Order: Passeriformes
Order Description: Passerines
Family: Paridae
Family Description: Chickadees and Titmice

Physical Description:
4 3/4-5 3/4" (12-15 cm). Black head with white cheeks and sides of neck; gray above; white below with orange-washed flanksClick word for definition.

Similar Species- Mexican Chickadee, Mountain Chickadee.

A melancholy fee-bee.

Resident across portions of Alaska and Canada, south to northwestern California, southern Utah, central New Mexico, portions of Midwest, northern New Jersey, and (at higher elevations) southern Appalachians. Wanders irregularly south in winter.

Found in deciduous and mixed forests and woodlands, tall thickets, open woodlands, and parks.

Eats mainly insects and other small invertebrates, their eggs and immature stages, and seeds and fruits.

Nests in cavity in tree or standing snag. Forages in foliage. Forms foraging and roosting flocks in winter. In Alberta study, winter survival rates were higher in food-supplemented area than in control area, but breeding densities in the 2 areas were similar. In southwestern Alberta, territory size averaged about 8-9 ha, and overlapped territories of Mountain Chickadee. An Idaho study conducted in cottonwood forests indicated these chickadees preferred agricultural landscapes over more natural landscapes.

Both parents, or female only, incubateClick word for definition 5-10 eggs (usually 6-8), for 11-13 days. Young are tended by both parents, and leave nest at 14-18 days.

Element Code: ABPAW01010
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Important State References:
Saab, V.A. 1996. Influences of spatial scale and land-use practices on habitat relationships of breeding birds in cottonwood riparian forests. Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ. Colorado, Boulder. 140pp.

Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.