5-5 3/4" (13-15 cm). Black crown, white eyebrow, black eye- stripe, white cheeks and nape, and black throat. Gray above and whitish below.
Similar Species- Other chickadees, Bridled Titmouse
A clear, whistled fee-bee-bee; and a husky chick-a zhee-zhee.
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.
During breeding season, found in montane coniferous 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.
Feeds on a variety of insect food.
Nests in natural or excavated cavity in standing snag or tree. Forages in foliage. Forms mixed-species flocks 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.
Langelier, L. 1983. Habitat selection of common breeding bird species in western spruce budworm outbreaks. M.S. Thesis, Univ. Idaho, Moscow. 199pp.