From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Black-capped chickadee
Scientific classification

The chickadees are a group of North American birds in the tit family included in the genus Poecile. Species found in North America are referred to as chickadees, while other species in the genus are called tits. They are small-sized birds overall, usually having the crown of the head and throat patch distinctly darker than the body. They are at least 6 to 14 centimetres (2.4 to 5.5 in) in size.

Their name reputedly comes from the fact that their calls make a distinctive "chick-a-dee-dee-dee",[1] though their normal call is actually fee-bee, and the famous chick-a-dee-dee-dee is an alarm call. The number of "dees" depends on the predator.[2]

The Chickadee (specifically the black-capped chickadee Poecile atricapillus, formerly Parus atricapillus) is the official bird for the state of Massachusetts.[3] Maine has named the chickadee as the official state bird, but never specified which particular kind of chickadee.[4][5]

One holarctic species is referred to by a different name in each part of its range - grey-headed chickadee in North America and Siberian tit in Eurasia.



  1. ^ The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories. Springfield, MA, USA: Merriam-Webster. 1991. p. 362. ISBN 0-87779-603-3.
  2. ^ "Chirpy chickadees signal deadliness of predators". New Scientist. 23 June 2005. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  3. ^ Massachusetts Facts Secretary of the Commonwealth. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  4. ^ The problem with naming ‘the chickadee’ as Maine’s state bird Bangor Daily News. 28 February 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
  5. ^ "State Bird - Chickadee". Maine Secretary of State. Retrieved 27 August 2018.