Black-capped Chickadee
(Poecile atricapillus)


Picture of bird
© Jukka Jantunen (
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

The Black-capped Chickadee is one of the most widespread year-round resident bird species in Canada, nesting from the northern forests to the southern suburban areas. The Breeding Bird Survey indicates that populations in Canada have shown a long-term moderate increase since 1970. At the regional level, population trends vary from long-term decreases in British Columbia to increases in the east.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaModerate IncreaseHighAt an Acceptable Level

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada5,000,000 - 50,000,000 adults

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence


Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

General nesting period in Canada

Nesting period starts between mid-April and mid-May and ends between early July and mid-July, depending on the region. Before or after this period, the probability of an active nest is lower.

Conservation and management

The Black-capped Chickadee is thought to have benefited from clearing for agriculture, and the proliferation of bird feeders and nest boxes (Smith 1993). However, the elimination of snags and deadwood reduce nest-site availability, which may negatively affect the species in some areas (Smith 1993). Studies have shown a correlation between population declines for chickadee species that correspond to the introduction and spread of West Nile Virus in North America in 1999 (LaDeau et al. 2007), but this does not seem to have affected the population over the long-term.


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type