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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 21:21 EDT

Mexican Chickadee

The Mexican Chickadee, Parus sclateri or Poecile sclateri, is a small songbird in the tit family Paridae. Mexico’s only chickadee is a permanent resident of wooded highlands, and its range extends north into southern Arizona and New Mexico. Although primarily nonmigratory, Mexican Chickadees sometimes fly to lower elevations during the cold of winter.

Adults of both sexes have a black cap, white cheeks, and a short black bill. Their backs and flanks are gray and they have pale gray underparts. Similar in appearance to the Black-capped Chickadee and Mountain Chickadee, the Mexican Chickadee can be distinguished by its longer black bib, which extends from its chin down onto its upper breast. A whitish band below the bib extends down the center of the belly. The typical adult wingspan is 7.25 inches, and their overall length is 5 inches.

The nest is constructed by the female in a snag or tree 5 to 45 feet above the ground, and consists of grasses, moss, strips of bark, and is lined with animal fur. She lays between 5 and 8 oval like white eggs, marked with fine reddish brown spots. Eggs are incubated for 11 to 14 days by the female and the young fledge in 18 to 21 days.

The Mexican Chickadee’s song is distinct from other chickadees. It is a complex piercing whistle of chischu-wur and a rich cheelee.

Mexican Chickadee