Blackcapped chickadee

Poecile atricapilla

SUBFAMILY

Parinae

TAXONOMY

Parus atricapillus Linnaeus, 1766. Nine subspecies.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Black-capped tit; French: Mésange à tête noire; German: Schwarzkopfmeise; Spanish: Carbonero de Capucha Negra.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

4.8-5.7 in (12.3-14.6 cm); 0.3-0.5 oz (10-14 g); plumage characteristic of the 'black-capped' tits; sexes similar.

DISTRIBUTION

P. a. atricapillus: northeastern United States and eastern Canada; P. a. practicus: Appalachian mountains in eastern United States; P. a. bartletti: Newfoundland; P. a. turneri: Alaska and northwestern Canada; P. a. septentrionalis: mid-continental North America; P. a. occidentalis: western coast of United States; P. a. fortuitus: western United States to east of Cascade Mountains; P. a. nevadensis: Great Basin area of United States; P. a. garri-nus: Rocky Mountains of United States.

HABITAT

Prefers deciduous or mixed woodland, including open habitats such as parks and gardens, and willow and cottonwood thickets. Frequently associated with birch (Betula) and alder (Alnus).

BEHAVIOR

Typically resident and territorial, but in mountain areas may show seasonal movements to lower elevations. Forms mixed-species flocks outside of breeding periods with distinct dominance-hierarchies. Has a variety of calls, including the familiar loud chick-a-dee.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forages throughout tree canopy and especially on bark in winter. Rarely forages on the ground. Diet comprises a wide range of invertebrates as well as fruits and seeds. Like many other tits, stores food in autumn for use in the winter. Can save energy overnight by regulated hypothermia, lowering body temperature by up to 53.6°F (12°C).

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nests in cavities in trees, excavating own hole (both sexes) or using natural holes, and will use nest-boxes that are partly filled with sawdust. Lays eggs mid-April to late May, usually a single clutch of six to eight eggs (maximum 13). Female incubates for 12-13 days and broods for 12-16 days. Young birds disperse from parents' territory after three to four weeks and form flocks with unrelated adults or become floaters.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. A common and very widespread species, with a typical density of 0.6 pairs/acre (0.25 pairs/ha).

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

0 0

Post a comment