What are Chickadees?

BNelson By BNelson, 29th Oct 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Nature>Birds

When most people think of Chickadees they think of “Black-capped chickadees”, but in fact there are many other types of this wonderful little bird. Although they are grouped together with birds of the “tit” family, we will refer here to birds given the common name of “Chickadee”. Learn more about Chickadee birds.

What are the Species of Chickadees?

Black Capped Chickadee - Range over most of North America with the exception of the northern territories, and southern states. They thrive in most habitats and are common in urban areas as well as forests.

Carolina Chickadee – Range though out the deciduous forests of the south eastern United States.

Boreal Chickadee – Live in the Boreal forests of Canada and Alaska.

Chestnut Backed Chickadee – They range along the Pacific coast of North America and prefer conifer forests.

Mountain Chickadees – Range though out the Rocky Mountains of Canada and the United States. They live at higher elevations and tolerate colder temperatures than the other chickadees.

Mexican Chickadee – Range is in Mexico and southern United States

Grey Headed Chickadee – Also known as the Siberian Tit, ranges through northern Asia, and Scandinavia, as well as Northern Canada, and Alaska. Prefers conifer forests.

What Do Chickadees Look Like?

With some variation for each species, these birds have a black chin and top of head, with a white triangle down the side of their face, their wings, shoulders, and tails being gray. The exceptions being the Chestnut Backed Chickadee, who has a brown back, and the Grey Headed Chickadees who has a gray/brown top of the head.

In size they are small birds about 5 inches long with a wingspan of 8 inches.

Other Information on Chickadees

Chickadees are classified in the Family Paridae, Genus Poecile.


The chickadee got its name from the familiar call “Chick-a-dee-dee-dee-dee”. Different species make their own variation of this call. Other calls are used to indicate danger or food.


Chickadees are common at backyard bird feeders where they tend to favor the black oil sunflower seeds. They will often take more than they are ready to eat and hide them. In warmer temperatures they eat insects, which they will peck of trees or catch in flight. They eat seeds, fruit, and berries as well. Often it is the berries, seeds, and apples left on trees, which sustain them through the winters.


Unlike some birds, Chickadees have a relatively short migration. Usually they just move to a more southerly point in their range. During this “migration”, they flock together and form pecking orders within their group.

Chickadees are brave birds and can be tamed to take seeds out of a patient humans hand.

How Do Chickadees Survive in the Winter?

In addition to the migration mentioned above, they have the ability to lower their body temperature to conserve energy.

They will find shelter in the lower tree branches or even in holes, they can fluff up their feathers to create an air layer around themselves.

Mating and Reproduction

It is believed most Chickadees mate monogamously.

Pairs typically nest in holes in trees, they line the nests with grasses, fur, feathers, and a variety of found items. In the spring they lay five to eight eggs, which hatch roughly 11-15 days later.

In some cases they may produce two clutches of eggs.


About Chickadees, Bird, Birds, Chickadee, Different Types Of Chickadees, What Do Chickadees Eat, What Do Chickadees Look Like

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author avatar BNelson
I write on many topics but am mostly interested in pets and animals.

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author avatar brendamarie
30th Oct 2015 (#)

very interesting article as I do not know, much about birds. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
30th Oct 2015 (#)

Chickadees are really common where we are.

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author avatar Nancy Czerwinski
30th Oct 2015 (#)

Brenda, thanks for sharing your article. I really don't know if we have chickadees or not. I love the ways they find to stay warm. I found the information you shared about chickadees fluffing up their feathers to create an air layer around them is actually amazing to me.

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author avatar Retired
30th Oct 2015 (#)

Great share!

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
30th Oct 2015 (#)

Interesting post!

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