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Mountain Chickadee Poecile gambeli


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Mountain Chickadee
credit: Greg7/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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

Description ADULT Has gray back and darkish wings; pale fringes to inner flight feathers and coverts are less striking than in Black-capped. Has a black cap marked with a white supercilium; note also the black throat and bib. Underparts are pale with gray wash to flanks. Legs are gray and bill is dark. JUVENILE Similar to adult.

Dimensions Length: 5-5 3/4" (13-15 cm)

Habitat Common resident of mountain coniferous and mixed forests. Some altitudinal migration sometimes occurs in winter.

Observation Tips Easy to see in suitable habitats at appropriate altitudes.

Range Northwest, Plains, Texas, Western Canada, Southwest, California, Alaska, Rocky Mountains

Voice Song is typically a four-note fee-bee, fee-bay; call is a nasal chika-tzitzi.

Discussion Structurally rather similar to Black-capped and Carolina Chickadees, but separable by plumage differences, notably the striking white supercilium (although this is less obvious in summer when plumage is worn). Favored habitat and altitudinal range are also useful pointers. Joins roving mixed-species flocks outside breeding season and caches seeds as a food store for winter. Sexes are similar.