Black-Capped Chickadee

Black capped chickadees are a member of the genus Parus, and are the most common and geographically widespread chickadee. They get their 'black-capped' name from the black streak that runs from their beak to neck over the top of their head. They also have a distinctive black bib on the underside of their neck, with white streaks down the sides of their face. They have gray backs, and their underbellies range in color from white to light rust brown. Black capped chickadees also have white edges on their feathers which are larger than the edges of other chickadees.

Chickadees may also be distinguished by their distinctive call of 'chick-a-dee-ee-ee', but the calls of other chickadees, like the Carolina chickadee, may be confused with those of the black-capped chickadee by human listeners.

Chickadees are mostly year-long residents of their range, although sometimes they will stay to the southern part of their range in the fall or winter - and in extreme cases, they will move south of their range altogether. During the winter, chickadees often form flocks that will include other birds as well, such as nuthatches, titmice, and warblers. Chickadees often are the glue of these mixed flocks, because their distinctive call alerts other members of the flock when they find good sources of food. During the flocking season, black-capped chickadees have a rigid social hierarchy, with males ranking over females, and older birds having authority over younger ones.

Chickadees can be found coast to coast across the northern half of North America. Their range in the north extends to the southern edge of Canada's Northwest Territories and the Yukon, and the southern half of Alaska, and they inhabit the northern Half of the United States.

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