Poecile gambeli
(Mountain Chickadee)


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

Physical Description:
5-5 3/4" (13-15 cm). Black crownClick word for definition, white eyebrow, black eye- stripe, white cheeks and napeClick word for definition, and black throat. Gray above and whitish below.

Similar Species- Other chickadees, Bridled Titmouse

Song:
A clear, whistled fee-bee-bee; and a husky chick-a zhee-zhee.

Distribution:
Resident in mountains from southeastern Alaska, British Columbia, and southwestern Alberta, south to northern Baja California, central and southeastern Arizona, southeastern and central New Mexico, and southwestern Texas.

Habitat:
During breeding season, found in montane coniferousClick word for definition forests (especially pine, spruce/fir, and pinyon/juniper). During winter, found at lower elevations in mixed (pine/oak) and riparian woodlands. Pacific Northwest study indicated species is habitat generalist, found in structurally variable montane forests.

Diet:
Feeds on a variety of insect food.

Ecology:
Nests in natural or excavated cavity in standing snag or tree. Forages in foliage. Forms mixed-species flocksClick word for definition in winter. Mean territory size has been estimated at 1.5 ha. Breeding density has been reported as 71.5 breeding pairs/100 ha in White Mountains in Arizona, less than 10 breeding pairs/40 ha in northern Arizona, and up to 11 pairs/40 ha in thinned forest with added nest boxes. Territory size in southwestern Alberta averaged about 6-7 ha, and overlapped with territories of Black-capped Chickadee.

Reproduction:
clutchClick word for definition size is usually 6-12 eggs. Incubation lasts 14 days. Young are tended by both parents, and leave nest in about 20 days. Female possibly produces 2 broodsClick word for definition annually.

Conservation:
Element Code: ABPAW01040
Status: Protected nongame species
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Important State References:
Langelier, L. 1983. Habitat selection of common breeding bird species in western spruce budworm outbreaks. M.S. Thesis, Univ. Idaho, Moscow. 199pp.


Design by Ean Harker©1999, 2000.
Photo by Marcus Martin, ©1999.
Song recorded by C. S. Robbins. ©1999.
Written by Jason Karl, 2000.