The Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) is a small passerine bird in the tit family Paridae. Adults are 11.5–13 cm (4.5–5.1 in) long with a weight of 9–12 g (0.32–0.42 oz) and have a black cap and bib with white sides to the face. Their underparts are white with rusty brown on the flanks; their back is gray. They have a short dark bill, short wings, and a moderately long tail. Very similar to the Black-capped Chickadee, the Carolina Chickadee is distinguished by the slightly browner wing with the greater coverts brown (not whitish fringed) and the white fringing on the secondary feathers slightly less conspicuous; the tail is also slightly shorter and more square-ended. [Wikipedia]
John James Audubon named this bird while he was in South Carolina. The curious, intelligent Carolina Chickadee looks very much like a Black-capped Chickadee, with a black cap, black bib, gray wings and back, and whitish underside. Carolina and Black-capped chickadees hybridize in the area where their ranges overlap, but the two species probably diverged more than 2.5 million years ago. [All About Birds]
Carolina Chickadee Facts [All About Birds]
- In winter, Carolina Chickadees live in flocks of two to eight birds and defend areas against other flocks. Dominant birds in these flocks establish breeding territories in the summer that were part of the winter flock’s range.
- The pair bond between a male and female Carolina Chickadee can remain intact for several years. The probability that a pair will remain together seems to vary among populations, with nearly all pairs remaining together in subsequent years in a study in Texas, but only half staying together in a study in Tennessee. If a nest attempt fails, a female may seek out a new male on a different territory.
- Most members of a winter flock stay in the same flock all season, but some birds are “flock switchers.” Some of these belong to one flock and then switch, joining another flock permanently and exclusively for the rest of the season. Other flock switchers regularly move between flocks. These flock-switchers may have different rankings in the hierarchy of each flock.
- The oldest known Carolina Chickadee was at least 10 years, 11 months old when it was recaptured and re-released during banding operations in West Virginia in 1974. It had been banded in the same state in 1963.