Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)

Carolina Chickadee

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Paridae | [latin] Poecile carolinensis | [UK] Carolina Chickadee | [FR] Mesange de Caroline | [DE] Carolinameise | [ES] Carbonero de Carolina | [NL] Carolina-mees


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Poecile carolinensis NA se USA
Poecile carolinensis agilis
Poecile carolinensis atricapilloides
Poecile carolinensis carolinensis
Poecile carolinensis extimus

Physical charateristics

Nearly identical with the Black-capped Chickadee, but distinctly smaller and lacking the conspicuous white area in the wing created by the white feather edges. The voice is notably different.

Listen to the sound of Carolina Chickadee

[audio: Chickadee.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 15 cm wingspan max.: 20 cm
size min.: 10 cm size max.: 12 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 15 days
fledging min.: 16 days fledging max.: 19 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 10  


North America : Southeast USA


Mixed and deciduous woods, river groves, shade trees.
Mostly in deciduous forest, also in pine woods with good mixture of oak or other leafy trees, and will nest in well-wooded suburbs. Habitat like that of Black-capped Chickadee; where the two species overlap
in the Appalachians, Carolina Chickadee lives at lower elevations.


May mate for life. Pairs probably form in fall and remain together as part of winter flock. When flocks break up in late winter, pair establishes nesting territory.
Nest: Site is in hole in tree, typically enlargement of small natural cavity in dead wood, sometimes old woodpecker hole or birdhouse, usually 5-
15′ above the ground. In natural cavity, both sexes help excavate or enlarge the interior. Nest (probably built by female) has foundation of bark strips or other matter, lining of softer material such as plant down and animal hair.
Eggs: 5-8. White, with fine dots of reddish brown often concentrated around larger end. Incubation is probably by female only, 11-13 days. Adult bird disturbed on nest makes loud hiss like that of a snake.
Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest about 13-17 days after hatching.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects, seeds, and berries.
Caterpillars major part of diet in warmer months; also feeds on moths, true bugs, beetles, aphids, other insects and spiders. Also eats seeds, berries, small fruits.
Behavior: Forages mostly by hopping among twigs and branches and gleaning food from surface, often hanging upside down to reach underside of branches. Sometimes takes food while hovering, and may fly out to catch insects in m
idair. Stores food items, retrieving them later. Comes to bird feeders for seeds or suet.


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). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not 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.
Carolina Chickadee status Least Concern


Resident from southern edge of range of Black-cap in New Jersey, Ohio, Missouri, Oklahoma south to Florida, Gulf Coast. Black-cap penetrates range of Carolina in some winters. Migration: Permanent resident.

Distribution map

Carolina Chickadee distribution range map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *