Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Carolina Chickadee - Poecile carolinensis
PARIDAE Members:
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General Comments The Carolina Chickadee is one of the best known species in the state, as it occurs statewide, and nests in all 100 counties. It is absent only from the highest mountains and the Outer Banks (and other islands with no forests). It is one of the relatively few songbirds in the state that is completely non-migratory. Year-round habitat is middle-aged to mature forests and woodlots, both in residential areas and in more remote areas. It favors some conifers in the forest, especially in winter; however, they range from swamp forests to drier forests. Nearly all bird feeders in wooded areas are visited by chickadees. It is a nucleus species, along with the Tufted Titmouse, in the mixed-species flocks that roam the pine and mixed forests in winter.
Breeding Status Breeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank S5
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Permanent resident; non-migratory. Common to very common, and widespread, across the region, except absent on barrier islands lacking forests. Mysteriously absent from Buxton Woods, which contains excellent habitat for the species, though there are one or two records. There are also a few records for the Cape Lookout area, presumably representing strays from the nearby mainland. Peak counts:
Piedmont Permanent resident; non-migratory. Common to very common, and widespread, across the province. Peak counts: 283, Jordan Lake spring count, 7 May 2000.
Mountains Permanent resident; non-migratory. Common to very common, and widespread, up to 5,500 feet, to occasionally 6,000 feet, except in areas occupied by the Black-capped Chickadee. Thus, in much of the Great Smoky Mountains NP, the Plott Balsams, and the Great Balsam Mountains southeast toward Devils Courthouse, the species ranges up to about 4,500 feet -- or to the elevation occupied by the Black-capped (the two species do not occur in the same area). Peak counts:
Finding Tips None needed.
Attribution LeGrand[2012-09-16], LeGrand[2011-12-11], LeGrand[2011-08-15]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.
NC Breeding Season Map
Map depicts assumed breeding season abundance for the species.
NA Maps
(source NatureServe)

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, DC, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, NJ, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002-2005