Skip Navigation

Species Search:
FieldGuidesthreatened and/or endangered search resultsthreatened and/or endangered

Chestnut-backed Chickadee Poecile rufescens


enlarge +

Chestnut-backed Chickadee
credit: Thom Quine/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

All Images


Get Our Newsletters


Advanced Search

Family: Paridae, Chickadees and Titmice view all from this family

Description ADULT Has a chestnut back and neatly defined white cheeks (framed by the black cap that extends narrowly down nape) and black throat. Darkish wings have pale feather fringes and tail is dark; underparts are gray-buff overall, but heavily flushed with chestnut on flanks in most birds found north of California. Legs are gray and bill is dark in all birds. JUVENILE Similar to adult.

Dimensions Length: 4 1/2 -5" (11-13 cm)

Habitat Common resident within its restricted range; favors conifer and mixed forests.

Observation Tips Easy to find in suitable habitats within its limited range. Often forages high in treetops, but its inquisitive nature sometimes brings it nearer to eye level.

Range California, Alaska, Rocky Mountains, Northwest, Western Canada

Voice No obvious song; calls include a sharp tsiti-tchee-tchee.

Discussion Colorful chickadee, whose identification is relatively straightforward. Looks rather plump-bodied and short-tailed. Sometimes joins roving mixedspecies flocks of small birds outside breeding season. Sexes are similar.