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Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee
Scientific Classification
Order: Passeriformes
Binomial name
Poecile atricapilla

The Black-capped Chickadee, Poecile atricapilla, is a small songbird.

Adults have a black cap and bib with white sides to the face. Their underparts are white with rusty brown on the flanks; their back is grey. They have a short dark bill, short wings and a long tail.

Their breeding habitat is mixed or deciduous woods in Canada, Alaska and the northern United States. They nest in a hole in a tree; the pair excavates the nest, using a natural cavity or sometimes an old woodpecker nest. They may interbreed with Caroline Chickadees or Mountain Chickadees where their ranges overlap.

They are permanent residents, but sometimes move south within their range in winter.

These birds hop along tree branches searching for food, sometimes hanging upside down or hovering; they may make short flights to catch insects in the air. Insects form a large part of their diet, especially in summer; seeds and berries become important in winter. They sometimes hammer seeds on a tree or shrub to open them; they also will store seeds for later use.

The call is the familiar chick-a-dee-dee-dee which gave this bird its name. They often travel with other forest birds in small flocks.

This is the provincial bird of New Brunswick and the state bird of Maine and Massachusetts.