Boreal Chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus)

Boreal Chickadee

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Paridae | [latin] Poecile hudsonicus | [UK] Boreal Chickadee | [FR] Mesange a tete rune | [DE] Hudsonmeise | [ES] Paro boreal | [NL] Hudsonmees


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Poecile hudsonicus NA n
Poecile hudsonicus columbianus
Poecile hudsonicus farleyi
Poecile hudsonicus hudsonicus
Poecile hudsonicus littoralis
Poecile hudsonicus stoneyi

Physical charateristics

The small size, black bib, whitish cheeks, and tiny bill mark it as a chickadee; the dull brown cap, rich brown flanks, and restricted white on its dusky cheeks
as this species. The general color is brown rather than gray.

Listen to the sound of Boreal Chickadee

[audio: Chickadee.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 20 cm wingspan max.: 21 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 14 cm
incubation min.: 14 days incubation max.: 18 days
fledging min.: 15 days fledging max.: 17 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 4  
      eggs max.: 9  


North America : North


Conifer forests.
Mainly in forests of conifers, especially spruces, but also in some mixed forest. Occurs in low stunted spruces as far north as treeline. At southern edge of range, found in spruce bogs in East, high mountain forest in West, barely south of Canadia
n border in either region.


May mate for life, the birds remaining together all year.
Nest: Site is in hole in tree, either natural cavity or old woodpecker hole; chickadees may also excavate their own site or enlarge an existing hole. Site is usually low, 1-
12′ above the ground. Both sexes help with excavation, but only female builds nest inside. Nest has foundation of moss, bark strips, lichens, feathers, lining of animal hair and plant down.
Eggs: 5-8, sometimes 4-9. White, with fine reddish brown dots often concentrated at larger end. Incubation is by female, 11-16 days. Male feeds female during incubation.
Young: Female stays with young and broods them much of time at first, while male brings food. Later, both feed nestlings. Young leave nest at about 18 days. 1 brood per year.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects and seeds.
Feeds on insects, including many caterpillars in summer, plus moths, beetles, and others, also spiders. Eats many insect eggs and pupae, especially in winter. Also eats seeds of various trees.
Forages mostly by moving about in dense conifers, gleaning insects from surface of twigs, needles, or trunk. May probe in bark crevices, and may take food while hovering briefly. Also will extract seeds from cones, and will take seeds from
deciduous trees such as birches. May store food and retrieve it later.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Boreal Chickadee status Least Concern


Boreal woods of Alaska, Canada, northern United States. Migration: Generally a permanent resident. Occasional small southward invasions in fall, with a few appearing sou
th of breeding range; may occur in same seasons when Black-capped Chickadees stage similar invasions.

Distribution map

Boreal Chickadee distribution range map

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