• Skip to Content
  • Skip to Main Navigation
  • Skip to Local Navigation
  • Skip to Search
  • Skip to Sitemap
  • Skip to Footer
Help develop a Bird ID tool!

Carolina Chickadee

Poecile carolinensis ORDER: PASSERIFORMES FAMILY: PARIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

Carolina Chickadee Photo

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.

Yard Map Birds Eye View
Learn more about BirdSleuth

Backyard Tips

Carolina Chickadees visit feeders for sunflower seeds, peanut chips, and suet. Make sure any peanuts you provide stay dry so no mold can form on them. Sometimes Carolina Chickadees nest in nest tubes or nest boxes. They do not seem to care one way or the other whether the boxes or tubes are stuffed with sawdust or wood shavings.

Find This Bird

Learn Carolina Chickadee call notes in order to find them in forested areas. This bird is an especially important one for beginners within its range to learn. When you notice its calls during spring and fall migration, make sure to look through tree branches. Warblers and other migrating songbirds associate with chickadees, and by looking through the chickadees you’re more likely to find these other species as well. At feeders, Carolina Chickadees grab a seed and carry it off to eat on a more secluded branch.

Get Involved

Keep track of Carolina Chickadees at your feeder with Project FeederWatch

Download instructions for attracting nesting chickadees and building a nest box. Report information about nesting activity to NestWatch.

View and sort images of nesting Carolina Chickadees online with CamClickr to help scientists archive data from our NestCams

You Might Also Like

Why Sing the Wrong Song? The puzzle of bilingual chickadees

Visit the NestCams archives for a close-up view of Carolina Chickadees in their nest

Distinguishing Chickadees: Refresh your chickadee identification skills

Project FeederWatch: Tricky Bird IDs

Carolina Chickadee: Kissing cousins (Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center)

Audubon at Home Birds to Help: Carolina Chickadee

All About Birds Blog, Warming Temperatures Are Pushing Two Chickadee Species—and Their Hybrids—Northward, March 2014.