Chickadees are small-sized birds with big personalities. They get their name from their songs, song sound as they are saying “chick-a-dee-dee-dee”. These birds use their sharp bills for hammering open seeds or grabbing bugs out of crevices.
In this article, we will explore all the types of chickadee with their brief overview & images.
7 Types of Chickadee – Brief Overview with Images
There are seven different types of a chickadee. These types are:
- Black-Capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
- Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)
- Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli)
- Chestnut-Backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)
- Boreal Chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus)
- Grey-Headed Chickadee (Poecile cinctus)
- Mexican Chickadee (Poecile sclateri)
Most of them can be found in North America and Canada.
These active and beautiful birds belong to the genus Poecile. All chickadee have bibs with white cheeks and dark heads. The chickadees are spread widely throughout North America and some species are more common than others. The size of most chickadees is 6 to 14 centimeters (2.4 to 5.5 inches).
1. Black-Capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)
This type of chickadee inhabits a wide range of habitats from Alaska, Canada, and North America. Black-capped chickadee prefers mature forests with dense woods to shelter their nests. They will combine with titmice, woodpeckers, and other small birds to form large mixed-species flocks and migrate to warmer places in winter.
The black-capped chickadee is small in size vary from 4.5 to 5 inches. These birds have a head striped lack and white. Black bib on the neck with white below and black stripes on sides. These birds have gray back with black striping, two white wing bars, and white outer tail feathers.
Carolina chickadees are very familiar with black-capped chickadees. These birds do not have white wings edgings or gray on their flanks. Carolina chickadees prefer to live at lower elevations, while the black-capped chickadee prefers greater heights. Also, a Carolina chickadee has a faster and higher-pitched call than a black-capped chickadee.
The length of Carolina chickadee varies from 3.9 to 4.7 inches (10 – 12 cm). The weight of Carolina chickadee can be 0.3 to 0.4 oz (8 – 12 g).
3. Boreal Chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus)
The boreal chickadee is a small-sized passerine bird in the tit family. It is widely found in the boreal forests of the northern United States and Canada. The boreal chickadee has a brown cap instead of a black.
Want To See Some Boreal Chickadee?
If you are a birdwatcher, then you have to take a trip to Canada or Alaska to see the boreal chickadee.
These birds have a black chin, brown cap, and brownish sides. They also prefer to live in high mountains supporting boreal forests. Adult boreal chickadees are 12.5 to 14.5 cm (4.9 – 5.7 inches) long with a weight of 7 to 12.4 g (0.25 – 0.44 oz).
The mountain chickadee is a small songbird in the tit family Paridae. They are usually found in mountainous regions of the western United States. Adult males and females mountain chickadee have a black cap. Black postocular stripe behind distinctive white eyebrows. Their flanks and backs are gray. Also, they have a black bill and black bib.
The wingspan of adult mountain chickadee is 7.5 inches (19 cm), and the overall length is 5 to 6 inches (13 – 15 cm). They produce 1 to 2 broods per year. The incubation period is 14 days. The babies stay in the nest for 21 days while being fed by both parents.
These birds live in the pacific rainforests along the coasts of Alaska, Canada, and the United States. They usually move to lower elevations in the same area in winter in search of food. They move back up to the higher elevation in form of flocks in late summer. The Chestnut-Backed chickadee has brown flanks and backs with a black cap and bib.
A small chestnut-backed chickadee can be 11.5 – 12.5 cm (4.5 – 4.9 inches) long with a weight of 8.5 – 12.6 g (0.30 – 0.44 oz).
They are cute and beautiful species of small-sized. Mexican chickadee is a permanent resident of wooded highlands in western, northeastern, and central Mexico. They sometimes fly to lower elevations in the cold winter.
Where to spot Mexican Chickadees? Do you live in the Mountains of Arizona? If you don’t, then you are not going to see Mexican-Chickadees.
This bird has a deep blackhead and chin. Also, the throat and chest region of this bird is deep black. The rest of the body parts are olive-gray and white.
The gray-headed chickadee also called Siberian tit is a widespread resident breeder throughout northern Palearctic. This bird is a conifer specialist, most of them do not migrate. Curiously concerning its name, the bird has no gray color on its head. the head is black, white, and brown.
It is a large tit as compare to other types of chickadees. It is 13.5 – 14 cm long with a weight of 11 – 14.3 g. These chickadees are a bit fluffier and more robust than the other North American chickadees.
What Does Chickadee Eat?
Chickadee always loves to pick insects of any stage-eggs, pupae, larvae, adults from trees. They can be seen within their respective range throughout the year. Although they visit backyard feeders quite often in spring and summer when insects are at their peak.
Chickadees will eat sunflower seeds at the feeder. But they are irresistible if peanuts and chopped nuts are there. Their typical dining style is grab-and-go, but they will back soon to get more.
However, chickadees used to store food and eat it later. So, usually, they won’t stick around at a feeder for too long. They place their foods at multiple hidden locations. So, chickadees must have a good memory to keep track of their food.
Where Do Chickadee Nest?
Chickadees mostly build their nests in cavities using old woodpecker holes. They also make holes for themselves in soft rotting wood. It takes them 7 – 10 days to make a new 5” deep hole. After the completion of the nesting hole, the female chickadee spends 3 – 4 days lining it with wool, hair, fur, feathers, and cotton fibers. She lays 5 – 10 eggs in a clutch.
Chickadee Eggs Hatching
The egg size of these birds is 15.2 x 12.2 mm, smaller than a dime. Female begins incubation after laying the last egg and incubates them alone for 12 – 13 days. The male feeds her during the incubation period. So, she doesn’t have to leave the nest.
Where Do Chickadee Live?
Different chickadee species live in multiple habitat types. Most types of chickadee live in forests, both deciduous forests and coniferous forests.
Some of the ecosystems that they inhabit including open woodlands, willows, riparian, or waterside areas. These birds are quite adapted to backyard living, gardens and visit backyard birdfeeders.
Distribution of Chickadee
Different species of this bird have different distributions. Black-capped species live from Arctic Circle in Canada to the northern United States.
Boreal species live in the same range as black-capped. But their southern distribution ends along the border of the northern United States. The rest of the species range throughout North America and Canada.
4 Tips to Attract Chickadee in Your Backyard
There are multiple tips to attract chickadee species to your backyard or your nest box. The following points may help you to attract chickadee to your backyard.
- Plant trees and shrubs of different sizes in your backyard to provide better foraging areas and denser shelter for protecting them.
- Provide suitable perches near feeders, so they can flit to a safe spot while eating.
- Place bird feeders and baths near to thickest tree to provide them a safer area.
- Protect them from cats by keeping your pets indoors.
6 Tips to Care for Chickadee
You can consider the following points while taking care of these cute little birds.
- Place wood shavings in the bottom of a container.
- Place a 60-watt lightbulb over the top of the container.
- Leave the bulb on for 18 hours a day, to keep the baby warm.
- Pour water into a small pot.
- Blend 1 cup of sunflower seeds and 1 cup of fruit and place food in the beaks of the chickadee.
- Place food in the container three times a day.
The Behavior of Chickadee – Social Birds
These species are very social. They will live in a flock with chickadees and several other species like woodpecker, warblers, and videos. These birds are active during the day.
Outside of the breeding season, most of them are quite social and interact with others of their kind. As breeding season arrives, they form their territories around a nest site. They choose their territories near the food sources and safe nesting locations.
Is Chickadee a Good Pet?
No! they are not a good choice as a pet. Even though they are cute little birds, but in most places, they are not allowed to keep as a pet. Particularly in the USA & Canada, where they are mostly populated.
So far, we have discussed seven different types of chickadees with their brief overview & Images. Let us know about your favorite type of chickadee & if you want to know more about any particular type, you can visit the detailed article on each type of Paridae (chickadee) as well.