Family Tits and Chickadees (Paridae)

Least Concern

Boreal Chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus)


French: Mésange à tête brune German: Hudsonmeise Spanish: Carbonero boreal

Parus Hudsonicus

J. R. Forster

, 1772,

Severn River, Hudson Bay, Canada


Has been considered conspecific with P. cinctus and P. rufescens. Geographical variation slight, and confused by seasonal and individual variation, although genetic study found evidence of W & E clades, originally isolated in separate refugia#R; other named races, based on very slight differences, include cascadensis (Cascade Mts, on W Canada–USA border), merged with columbianus, and rabbittsi (Newfoundland, in E Canada), synonymized with nominate. Full review of all races required. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. h. stoneyi (Ridgway, 1887) – NW USA (NC Alaska) and NW Canada.
  • P. h. columbianus (Rhoads, 1893) – S Alaska and adjacent W Canada, S in NW USA to N Washington.
  • P. h. hudsonicus (J. R. Forster, 1772) – C Alaska E to E Canada (E to Labrador and Newfoundland).
  • P. h. farleyi (Godfrey, 1951) – SC Canada (E British Columbia E to C Manitoba).
  • P. h. littoralis (H. Bryant, 1865) – extreme SE Canada (S Quebec E to Prince Edward I and Nova Scotia) and extreme NE USA (E from New York).
  • Descriptive notes

    12·5–14·5 cm; 7–12·4 g. Medium-sized, brown-capped and black-bibbed tit with brown upperparts. Nominate race has forehead to crown (including... read more


    Most frequent contact call “dee”, “seep” or “siup”, often given... read more


    Dense lowland conifer forest, usually dominated by stands of spruce (Picea) and balsam fir... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food small invertebrates, larvae and eggs, including moths (Lepidoptera), aphids (Aphidoidea), beetles (Coleoptera) and spiders (Araneae);... read more


    Season late Apr to mid-Jul; one brood. Monogamous; probably pairs for life. Territorial; previous season’s territory usually... read more


    Resident, and short-distance altitudinal migrant; also cyclically irruptive according to... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common or locally common; irregularly common in winter or in irruptive years. Densities of 2–11 pairs/km² in parts of Canadian breeding... read more

    Recommended citation

    Gosler, A. & Clement, P. (2020). Boreal Chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).