The Carolina Chickadee, Parus carolinensis
or Poecile carolinensis, is a small songbird,
a passerine bird in the tit family Paridae.
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 moderately
long tail. Very similar to the Black-capped Chickadee,
the Carolina Chickadee is best told from it by
the slightly browner wing with the greater coverts
brown (not whitish fringed) and the white fringing
on the secondary feathers slightly less conspicuous;
the tail is also slightly shorter and more square-ended.
The calls and song also differ subtly to an experienced
ear (generally the Carolina Chickadee's calls
and songs are higher pitched than that of the
Black-Capped Chickadee). Identification is very
difficult without excellent views.
The most famous call is the familiar chick-a-dee-dee-dee
which gave this bird its name and its song is
Their breeding habitat is mixed or deciduous
woods in the United States from New Jersey west
to southern Kansas and south to Florida and Texas;
there is a gap in the range at high altitudes
in the Appalachian Mountains where they are replaced
by their otherwise more northern relative, the
Black-capped Chickadee. 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 Black-capped Chickadees where
the ranges overlap, which can make identification
They are permanent residents, not usually moving
south even in severe winter weather.
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.
During the fall migration and winter, chickadees
often flock together. Many other species of birds,
including titmice, nuthatches, and warblers can
often be found foraging in these flocks. Mixed
flocks stay together because the chickadees call
out whenever they find a good source of food.
This calling out forms cohesion for the group,
allowing the other birds to find food more efficiently.
Taxonomic note: Most authorities retain Poecile
as a subgenus within a broader view of the genus
Parus, but the American Ornithologists' Union
treats Poecile as a distinct genus.
The text within
the green border is licensed under the GNU
Free Documentation License. To see the full
article with more information, visit the Wikipedia
Carolina Chickadee". All content outside
the green border is copyrighted by McBryde Website Design.