Thursday, 26 March 2015

B.O.T.D. Gray-Headed Chickadee

Gray-Headed Chickadee (Poecile cinctus)

The Gray-Headed Chickadee, also known as "Siberian Tit," breeds throughout  northern Europe and Asia, from Norway eastward to northwestern North America. In Canada, the Gray-Headed Chickadee is primarily found north of the Arctic Circle in northern Yukon and northwestern Northwest Territories. Gray-Headed Chickadees are generally sedentary, though some populations become nomadic during winter months. Like other chickadees, they form mixed-species flocks with other passerines outside the breeding season. The female excavates and constructs the nest while the male guards against rival males and predators. During incubation, the male feeds the female, who remains on the nest throughout the incubation period. Each birds stores as much as  3 Kilograms of food in cavities, holes, and under bark to help it through the frigid, dark winters.

The Gray-Headed Chickadee can be distinguished from the similar Boreal Chickadee by its greyer cap, extensive white cheeks and dusty flanks. Juvenile Boreal Chickadees have a greyer crown and hoarser voice than adults and are sometimes misidentified as Gray-Headed Chickadees. Although the Gray-Headed Chickadee is rare but apparently stable in Canada, populations in Eurasia have declined considerably because of human disturbance and especially logging.

Lone Pine Publications: Birds of Canada