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Chestnut-backed Chickadee Identification

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The Four Keys to ID

  • Size & Shape

    Tiny, large-headed but small-billed, with a rather long, narrow tail and short, rounded wings.

    Relative Size

    The smallest, shortest-tailed chickadee

    Relative Sizesparrow or smallersparrow-sized or smaller

    • Both Sexes
      • Length: 3.9-4.7 in (10-12 cm)
      • Weight: 0.3-0.4 oz (7-12 g)
      • Wingspan: 7.5 in (19 cm)

Regional Differences

Chestnut-backed Chickadees have dark chestnut flanks over most of their range, but birds from the central California coast (from Marin County southward) have gray flanks with limited chestnut toward the tail.