Maine State Bird

Black-capped Chickadee

State Symbol: Maine State Bird: Chickadee

(Parus atricapillus)

Adopted on April 6, 1927.

Maine's State Federation of Women's Clubs campaigned for the black-capped chickadee, (Parus atricapillus.) The Maine state bird was adopted by the Eighty-third Legislature of Maine on April 6, 1927.

The Black-capped Chickadee is the state bird of both Maine and Massachusetts!

The Blacked-capped Chickadee is a common sight in the woods and at backyard bird feeders throughout the state.

The Black-capped chickadee,a bird almost universally considered "cute"thanks to its oversized round head, tiny body, and curiosity about everything, including humans and is the state bird of Maine and Massachusetts .

Maine State Bird: Black-capped Chickadee

State Symbol: Maine State Bird: Chickadee

The Black-capped Chickadee brownish-black bill is short, straight and rounded. The Chickadee's glossy head is large with a short neck and dark brown eyes. Its body is thick. The feathers are blended and short. The Chickadee tail is long, arched, and rounded, with twelve slender feathers. Feet and claws are greyish-blue. The whole upper part of the head and the hind neck is pure black, as is a large patch on the throat and fore-neck. The Black-capped Chickadee is approximately 5 inches in length.

Characteristics of the Black-capped Chickadee

  • Length: 4.5 inches
  • Short bill
  • Black crown and throat
  • White face
  • Pale gray upperparts
  • White edges to wing coverts
  • Grayish-white underparts
  • Rusty flanks
  • Sexes similar
  • Often found in small flocks

Black-capped Chickadees eat a variety of foods including insect eggs, ants, beetles, aphids, millipedes, snails, and other small creatures. They also eat seeds of conifers, goldenrod, ragweed, and wild fruit. Black-capped Chickadees are not very picky at the feeder and will eat cornmeal, sunflower seeds, suet, pumpkin seeds, and peanut butter.

Black-capped Chickadees prefer to live in mixed hardwood-coniferous forests. They also reside in small woodlands and shrubs by residential areas.

Both the male and female have similar plumage. Black-capped Chickadees have light gray backs and tails. They also have white bellies and cheeks. They got the name "Black-capped Chickadee" because they have some black feathers on their heads that look like a cap. Black-capped Chickadees also have some black feathers on their necks that look similar to a bib. In the winter, their sides are a deep brown.

Black-capped Chickadees survive the freezing weather by storing food they can use later in the season. Black-capped Chickadees can remember where they stored seeds for up to eight months, which is more than enough time to get them through the winter.

Black-capped Chickadees also survive the winter by lowering their body temperatures at night, entering a state of controlled hypothermia. In essence, they slow the blood flowing to the parts of their bodies they don't use while they are sleeping. This helps them save much-needed energy.

Maine Law

The law designating the Black-capped Chickadee as the official Maine state bird is Section §209  (State bird) of the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 1 (GENERAL PROVISIONS) Chapter 9 (SEAL, MOTTO, EMBLEMS AND FLAGS) Section 209.


§209. State bird

The state bird shall be the chickadee.

Taxonomic Hierarchy: Black-capped Chickadee

Kingdom: Animalia - animals
Phylum: Chordata - chordates
    Subphylum: Vertebrata - vertebrates
Class: Aves - birds
Order: Passeriformes - perching birds
Family: Paridae - chickadees, titmice
Genus: Parus Linnaeus, 1758 - chickadees, titmice:
Species: Parus atricapillus Linnaeus, 1766 - black-capped chickadee

Official State Birds
US map : Birds & Flowers
State Bird:Bird selected (by the legislature) as an emblem of a State.