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Boreal Chickadee
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Paridae
Genus: Poecile
Species: P. hudsonicus
Binomial name
Poecile hudsonicus
(Forster, 1772)
Synonyms

Parus hudsonicus

The Boreal Chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus, formerly Parus hudsonicus) is a small passerine bird in the tit family Paridae.

Adults are 12.5–14.5 cm long with a weight of 7–12.4 g. They have grey-brown upperparts with a brown cap and greyish wings and tail; their face is mainly grey with white on the sides. Their underparts are white with brown on the flanks and a black throat. They have a short dark bill, short wings and a long notched tail.

Their breeding habitat is coniferous woods in Canada, Alaska and the northern edges of the United States. They nest in a hole in a tree; the pair excavates the nest, using a natural cavity or sometimes an old woodpecker nest. The pair remains together year round and may mate for life.

They are permanent residents, but sometimes move south in winter. They often forage with small flocks including other small birds in winter.

These birds forage on conifer branches or probe into the bark. They mainly eat insects and seeds. They will store food for later use.

The call is a husky tsik-a-dee-dee, a variant on the call which gives chickadees their name. They live in forests.


Often, it is still placed in the genus Parus with most other tits, but mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data and morphology suggest that separating Poecile more adequately expresses these birds' relationships (Gill et al., 2005). The American Ornithologists' Union has been treating Poecile as a distinct genus for some time already. The genus name Poecile has often been treated as feminine (giving the species name ending hudsonica); however, this was not specified by the original genus author Johann Jakob Kaup, and under the ICZN the genus name must therefore be treated by default as masculine, giving the name ending hudsonicus (del Hoyo et al. 2007).

References

  • BirdLife International (2004). Parus hudsonicus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  • del Hoyo, J., Elliot, A., & Christie D. (eds). (2007). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 12: Picathartes to Tits and Chickadees. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 9788496553422
  • Gill, F. B., Slikas, B., & Sheldon, F. H. (2005). Phylogeny of titmice (Paridae): II. Species relationships based on sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene. Auk 122: 121-143. DOI: 10.1642/0004-8038(2005)122[0121:POTPIS]2.0.CO;2 HTML abstract

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