The Mountain Chickadee is a small songbird. Average total length for the male is 128.4 mm and 122.8mm for females. Top of head (to just below eye) is black, forming a black "cap" on head; forehead and superciliary stripe white (distinguishing it from other North American chickadees); chin and throat black, forming a black "bib"; cheeks whitish; back, wings, and tail grayish, washed with olive to tan; breast and belly grayish white, black bill (McCallum, Grundel and Dahlsten 1999).
For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.
Western Hemisphere Range
Year-round resident of montane coniferous forests of west North America, primarily in areas dominated by pine, spruce-fir and pinon juniper. Occurs in mixed coniferous-deciduous forests (McCallum, Grundel and Dahlsten 1999).
Insects during warm seasons augmented with spiders. Conifer seeds during cool seasons. (McCallum, Grundel and Dahlsten 1999).
Nesting begins in mid-June and lasts into late July. Near Fortine, the earliest eggs were noted on May 28 and the earliest young were out of the nest was June 17.