Boreal ChickadeePoecile hudsonicus

Claude Nadeau/VIREO
Garth McElroy/VIREO
Claude Nadeau/VIREO
Boreal Chickadee


5-5 1/2" (13-14 cm). Similar to Black-capped Chickadee, but crown and back brown, flanks rufous.


A husky chick-a-dee-dee, lazier and more nasal than call of Black-capped.


calls #2
calls #3
calls #4
calls #1


Coniferous forests.


Breeds from northern Alaska east to Labrador and Newfoundland, south to northern edge of United States. Occasionally wanders southward in winter.


Occasionally wanders southward in winter. Unlike the Black-capped Chickadee, this species spends most of its time in the interior of dense spruces, coming less readily to the tips of branches, and so it is much less easily observed. During late summer and early fall, when there is an abundance of caterpillars and seeds, Boreal Chickadees store food for winter among needles or under the bark of branches at a height that will be above the winter snow cover.


5-7 white eggs, lightly speckled with red-brown, in a cup of plant down, feathers, and moss in a natural cavity, often only a few feet from the ground.

Similar Species


Gray-headed Chickadee

4.5-5" (11-13 cm). Grayish-brown cap, white cheeks, and black bib; upperparts grayish-brown, showing little contrast with nape and crown; breast and belly whitish, flanks pale buff.


Bridled Titmouse

4 1/2 -5" (11-13 cm). Warbler-sized. Gray above, whitish below, with gray crest bordered with black and a "bridle" joining eye line and throat patch.

adult, Eastern

Black-capped Chickadee

4 3/4-5 3/4" (12-15 cm). Black cap and throat, white cheeks, gray back, dull white underparts. Wing feathers narrowly and indistinctly edged with white. Difficult to separate from Carolina Chickadee.


Carolina Chickadee

4-5" (10-13 cm). Similar to more northern Black-capped Chickadee, but feathers of folded wing usually show less white edging; lower edge of black bib more sharply defined than that of Black-capped.

adult, fresh plumage

Mountain Chickadee

5-5 3/4" (13-15 cm). Similar to Black-capped Chickadee, but with white eyebrow and pale gray flanks.


Chestnut-backed Chickadee

4 1/2 -5" (11-13 cm). Dusky, black-capped, and black-bibbed chickadee, with chestnut flanks and back.


Mexican Chickadee

5" (13 cm). A gray chickadee, with black cap, black bib extending onto upper breast, and gray flanks.


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