Field Guide/Birds/Poecile

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Poecile (Chickadee)
Carolina Chickadee
Black-capped Chickadee
Adults have a black cap and bib with white sides to the face. Their underparts are white with rusty brown on the flanks; their back is grey. They have a short dark bill, short wings and a moderately long tail. There are two types of Chickadee; the Carolina Chickadee, and the Black-capped Chickadee. Carolina Chickadees are so similar to Black-capped Chickadees that they themselves have trouble telling their species apart. Because of this they sometimes mate producing hybrids. The most obvious difference between the three chickadees is that the Carolina Chickadee sings four-note song, Black-capped ones sing two-note songs, and the hybrids sing three-note songs. The song of the Black-capped is a simple, clear whistle of two notes, identical in rhythm, the first roughly a whole-step below the second. This is distinguished from the Carolina chickadee's four-note call fee-bee fee-bay; the lower notes are nearly identical but the higher fee notes are omitted, making the Black-capped song like bee bay.