Carolina Chickadee

ID Info
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Carolina Chickadee
Silhouette ChickadeesChickadees

Carolina Chickadee

Poecile carolinensis
  • ORDER: Passeriformes
  • FAMILY: Paridae
Basic Description

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.

More ID Info
image of range map for Carolina ChickadeeRange map provided by Birds of North AmericaExplore Maps

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.

Other Names
  • Carbonero de Carolina (Spanish)
  • Mésange de Caroline (French)

Backyard Tips

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. Consider putting up a nest box to attract a breeding pair. Make sure you put it up well before breeding season. Attach a guard to keep predators from raiding eggs and young. Find out more about nest boxes on our Attract Birds pages. You'll find plans for building a nest box of the appropriate size on our All About Birdhouses site.

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. Find out more about what this bird likes to eat and what feeder is best by using the Project FeederWatch Common Feeder Birds bird list.

  • Cool Facts