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Carolina Chickadee Poecile carolinensis


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Carolina Chickadee
credit: Tom McGuire/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Paridae, Chickadees and Titmice view all from this family

Description ADULT Has "cold" look to plumage compared to Black-capped. Has gray-buff back and darkish wings; pale margins to inner flight feathers and greater coverts are duller and show less contrast than on Black-capped. Black cap, throat, and bib are similar in extent to Black-capped but white on face grades subtly from white cheeks to pale gray on sides of nape (uniformly white in Black-capped). Underparts are grayish overall with faint buff wash on flanks (flanks are warmer buff in Black-capped). Tail is dark, but with pale (not white) fringes. Legs are gray and bill is dark. JUVENILE Similar to adult.

Dimensions Length: 4-5" (10-13 cm)

Habitat Common and widespread resident of deciduous wooded habitats.

Observation Tips Easy to see.

Range Mid-Atlantic, Plains, Texas, Southeast, Florida, Great Lakes

Voice Song is a four-note whistling fee-bee fee-bay; call is a rapid chika-dee-dee, higher pitched than that of Black-capped.

Discussion Very similar to Black-capped. Fortunately, ranges overlap only slightly. Slightly smaller size is of little use in field identification. With experience, Carolina's subtly different proportions (smaller head and shorter tail) and can be useful pointers. Visits feeders, uses nest boxes, and joins roving mixed-species flocks of small birds outside breeding season. Sexes are similar.