Poecile Gambeli – Mountain Chickadee

Poecile Gambeli - Mountain Chickadee

Poecile gambel, the mountain chickadee is a passerine bird of the Paridae family. They have 1–2 broods every year and are monogamous. Females incubate for 14 days. The young are altricial and are nourished by both parents for 21 days. During the summer and breeding season, they eat insects, but also conifer and other plant seeds. Foraging for food in the bark or pounding seeds open with their beaks, they cling to branches and trunks.

Quick Overview: Poecile Gambeli – Mountain Chickadee
Body size: Around 5-6 in (13-15 cm) and a weight of 11 g (0.4 oz)
Main colors: Black, White, Gray
Range: Western United States
Migratory Bird: No
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: All Year (January – December)
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Mountain chickadee Description

Mountain Chickadees are little, spherical birds that average 13 cm in length. It has a black crown and neck, white cheeks, and a white brow. The white brow and pale gray sides set this species apart from other chickadees. Mountain Chickadees have gray underparts and gray flanks. Both sexes look alike. Rough-haired Rocky Mountain variants feature larger white eyebrows.

Poecile Gambeli - Mountain Chickadee
Poecile Gambeli – Mountain Chickadee. Photo by: Isaac Sanchez


These birds have a length of 5-6 in (13-15 cm) and a weight of 11 g (0.4 oz). Their wings could range 7.8 in (18-20 cm).


Poecile gambeli eat almost the entire day. They are omnivores, eating 70% insects and 30% plants. Cattle, cicadas, and gypsy moths are their main prey. Mountain Chickadees have a keen beak for eating seeds and berries.


This species inhabits a highland conifer and mixed forests. During nesting season, they reside at three-kilometer altitudes. In the fall and winter, they descend.


The Mountain Chickadee is a tree-loving, acrobatic bird. They can find food where other animals cannot since they are at ease in any position. Their flying movements help them dodge attackers. They can turn in 0.03 seconds.

Poecile gambeli Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Paridae
  • Genus: Poecile
  • Species: Poecile gambeli

Best time of the year to see

In the United States, the best time of year to see these birds is all year round, regardless of the season. This refers to any month of the year between January and December.

Distribution of the Mountain chickadee in the USA

It is found in the mountains of southwest Canada and the western United States, where it is known as the Mountain Chickadee. They are most common in Oregon and northern California, where they are also the most numerous.

The Mountain chickadee can be found in the following states in the United States – Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Poecile Gambeli – Mountain Chickadee

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