U.S. State Bird of Maine and Massachusetts -
Black-capped Chickadee

Black-capped Chickadee

The Black-capped Chickadee is the State Bird of two states: Maine and Massachusetts.

The Black-capped Chickadee is a common bird of northern forests. They are small birds, yet are able to survive harsh Northern winters and are one of the easiest birds to attract to a bird feeder.

  • American Ornithologist'Union Common Name: Black-capped Chickadee
  • Family: Paridae, Chickadees & Titmice
  • Scientific name: Poecile atricappilus
  • Length: 5.25 inches (13 cm)
  • Diet: Insects, seeds, fruit, spiders and their eggs.
  • Voice: Song of most populations a simple, high, pure whistle freebee, with second note lower than first and relative pitch of two notes constant; sometimes sounds three-noted, second part broken by slight falter but no real temporal break fee beeyee. Common and familiar call chickadee dee dee dee. Contact call a sharp chik or tsik slightly harsh, often leading into chick-a-dee call. Gargle call a complex, descending jumble of short notes and alarm a very high, thin series teeteeteeteetee; both similar in all chickadees.
  • Habitat: Mixed and deciduous woods; willow thickets, groves, shade trees, clearings, suburbs. Usually forages in thickets, low branches of trees.
  • Displays: Courtship: simple pursuit of female by male.
  • Number of broods: 1
  • Nest: Excavates or enlarges snag cavity usually 4-8 feet, but up to 40 feet above ground; rarely in coniferous tree; lined with plant down, moss, feathers, hair, insect cocoons.
  • Eggs: 6-8 white, finely marked with reddish browns. 0.6 inches (16 mm)
  • Incubation period: 11-13 days
  • Fledge: 14-18 days after hatching
  • Longevity Record: 11 Years and 6 months. The most recent record was set in 2011 by a banded chickadee that was recaptured and released in Minnesota - (data from the USGS Bird Banding Lab).

Black-capped Chickadees Excavating a Nest Cavity

Black-capped Chickadee Hammering on a Sunflower Seed

Maine Birds

The Chickadee was adopted as the Maine state bird by the Legislature in 1927.

Massachusetts Birds

The Black-Capped Chickadee was adopted as the official Massachusetts State Bird by the legislature on March 21, 1941

50 State Birds Page

More information about the The Black-capped Chickadee, its life history, song and identification can be found here.

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