Poecile atricapillus

Common Names: Black-capped chickadee
Category: Birds
Sub-category: Chickadees & Titmice

A small, common songbird, it is the state bird of both Maine and Massachusetts, and the provincial bird of New Brunswick in Canada. They are permanent residents, but sometimes move south within their range in winter. On cold winter nights, these birds reduce their body temperature by up to 10-12 degrees Celsius to conserve energy. The vocalizations of the black-capped chickadees are highly complex. 13 distinct types of vocalizations have been classified, many of which are complex and can communicate different types of information. Chickadees' complex vocalizations are likely an evolutionary adaptation to their habitat: they live and feed in dense vegetation, and even when the flock is close together, individual birds tend to be out of each others' visual range.

The black-capped chickadee has a black cap and bib with white sides to the face. Its underparts are white with rusty brown on the flanks. Its back is gray and the tail is normally slate-gray. This bird has a short dark bill of 8 to 9.5 mm, short rounded wings 63.5 to 67.5 mm, a tarsus of 16 to 17 mm and a long tail at 58 to 63 mm. Total body length is 12 to 15 cm, wingspan is 16 to 21 cm and body mass is 9 to 14 g. Sexes look alike, but males are slightly larger and longer than females.

Its preferred habitat is deciduous woods or mixed (deciduous/coniferous) woods. It is also found in open woods, parks, and suburban areas.

Edible Notes: No available information on edibility.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.