Black-capped Chickadee

Black Capped Chickadee Picture

Black-capped Chickadee

A Black-capped Chickadee is a fun bird to see while bird watching. Below are some tips to help you identify Black-capped Chickadee. We have also put together a list of fun Black-capped Chickadee t-shirts, Black Capped Chickadee bird patches, bird houses, bird feeders, binoculars, stickers and other fun bird watching items.

About Black-capped Chickadee

It is well known to be cute because of its large rounded head and tiny body. It is curious about things and maybe seen getting really close to humans. It usually saves seeds for later consumption, it places each seed in a different place and can recall thousands of its hiding places.

Description and Identification

These small round birds are one of the cutest in their size. With their black caps and bibs, white cheeks, grey backsides, and white underparts with buffed sides, they are one of the easiest birds to attract, and most rewarding to spot. They have large heads and short necks, long tails and a short stout bill. Their chickadee-dee-dee, the call is extremely communicative, used to communicate identity, recognition of other flocks, and threat levels. Both sexes look alike, although the males are slightly larger and longer than the females. 

Black-capped Chickadee Color Pattern

As its name suggests this Chickadee has a black cap and bib with white cheeks. The Black-capped Chickadee has a soft grey back and grey wing feathers with white edges. The black cap stretches out to the face and eyes making it difficult to see the black-capped chickadees’ eyes. Their underparts are soft and buffy grading a white on them.

Black-capped Chickadee Size

It has a short neck with a large head giving it a distinct round shape. Its tail is long and narrow but has a shorter and thicker bill. Adults measure as follows:

  • Length 12 – 15 cm
  • Weight 9 – 14 g
  • Wingspan 16 – 21 cm
Black Capped Chickadee
Black Capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee Behavior

They are an acrobatic bunch that lives in flocks often socializing with woodpeckers and other small woodland species. They feed on insects and seeds but do not perch far away from each other. The flock has numerous calls each with a different meaning and contain characteristics of the human language.

What Black-capped Chickadee Eat and Their Food

In the summer, their diet majorly consists of insects. They hop along branches of trees looking for food, often hanging upside down or hovering. They also often catch prey mid-flight. Chickadees hide their food after finding it for later use. They hide their food in different places and are gifted with excellent memory that helps them remember thousands of places. They fly to separate locations and push the seeds into the branches to crack them open. They can easily be attracted by filling bird feeders with suet, sunflower seeds, and peanuts. They are known as a bold species, often eating directly out of human hands. 

The Black-capped Chickadee diet is made of half seeds, plant matter and berries, the other half is made up of insects and spiders.  On rare occasions, it feeds on fat and flesh from frozen carcasses.

Where Black-capped Chickadees Live and Their Habitat

Black-capped Chickadee are residents of deciduous forests and open woods in distributed areas. They live in deciduous and mixed forests. These birds are easy to spot at feeding stations or around trees. They like woody shrubs, from forests to woodlots, weedy fields and cattail marshes. During winters, they prefer flying through low vegetation to avoid harsh cold winds. They are known for being able to lower their body temperatures on cold nights. The “winter floaters” are lone birds that belong to multiple flocks. There is a dominance hierarchy within chickadees, and these winter floaters might hold different rankings in each flock that they are a part of. 

Range and Migration

Black-capped Chickadees are northern nonmigratory birds.  These are the state birds of Massachusetts and Maine in the United States, and the provincial bird of New Brunswick in Canada. During winter, they often flock with other species. In these flocks, chickadees often serve as the nucleus. Birds of other species respond to their calls even when their own calls are different. In some parts, such as Minnesota, populations are decreasing due to access to food. It has been observed in Pennsylvania, that differences in population are dependent on the availability of supplemental food, rather than survival.


Interestingly, every autumn, Black-capped Chickadees allow millions of neurons in their brain to die as new ones form. This allows them to adapt well to new social flocks and environments. They excavate their nests in rotten wood. They always sleep in their own cavities, even during winters. They might use willow, archer, and birch trees for nesting. These birds moult once each year, at the end of the breeding season. These postnuptial moults are complete as these birds lose every feather. The males contribute greatly to nesting, occupying themselves with the responsibility of feeding their partners during the incubation period. 

Black-capped Chickadee Lifecycle

They build nests in natural cavities and nest boxes provided by humans. The often excavate their own cavities close to the ground. Females and males help in the excavation but the female usually chooses the nest site. The female lays a clutch of 1 to 13 eggs and incubates them for another 13 days. The nestling period is between 12 to 16 days after hatching. 


Bird Watching Academy & Camp Subscription Boxes

At Bird Watching Academy & Camp we help kids, youth, and adults get excited and involved in bird watching. We have several monthly subscription boxes that you can subscribe to. Our monthly subscription boxes help kids, youth, and adults learn about birds, bird watching, and bird conservation.

  • Kids Bird Watching Monthly Subscription

    $20.00 / month
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  • Kid & Adult Bird Watching Starter Pack Subscription

    $20.00 / month and a $72.00 sign-up fee
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  • Kids Bird Watching Starter Pack Subscription

    $20.00 / month and a $19.00 sign-up fee
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Bird Watching Binoculars for Identifying Black-capped Chickadees

The most common types of bird watching binoculars for viewing Black Capped Chickadees are 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. Bird Watching Academy & Camp sells really nice 8×21 binoculars and 10×42 binoculars. You can view and purchase them here.

  • Birding Binoculars

    Birding Binoculars

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  • Kids Binocular 8x21

    Kids Binoculars

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Black-capped Chickadee T-shirts

If you love the Black-capped Chickadee you should purchase a Bird Watching Academy & Camp T-shirt. To help support bird conservation we donate 10 percent to bird conservation activities.

Black-capped Chickadee Iron On Patches

Kids, Youth, and Adults love to collect our Bird Watching Academy & Camp iron on patches. Our bird watching patches help you keep track of the birds you have seen an identified. You can also display the patches on our Bird Watching Academy & Camp banners.

The Black-capped Chickadee is a great iron on patch to start your collection with. The patches are durable and can be sewn on or ironed on to just about anything.

  • Bird Banner with iron on patches

    Bird Banner

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  • Bird Watching iron on patch

    Bird Watching Academy and Camp Original Bird Badge

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Black-capped Chickadee Stickers

Stickers are a great way for you to display your love for bird watching and the Black-capped Chickadee.

We sell a monthly subscription sticker pack. The sticker packs have 12 bird stickers. These sticker packs will help your kids learn new birds every month.

Bird Feeders For Black-capped Chickadee

There are many types of bird feeders. Here are our favorite bird feeders for your backyard. We use all of these bird feeders currently. Kids will have a great time watching birds eat at these bird feeders. Using this collection of bird feeders will provide a wide variety and many types of birds.

Best Bird Houses for Black-capped Chickadee

There are many types of bird houses. Building a bird house is always fun but can be frustrating. These 4 bird houses have become our favorites. Getting a bird house for kids to watch birds grow is always fun. We spent a little extra money on these bird houses but they have been worth the higher price and look great.

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