Black-Capped Chickadee and Carolina Chickadee
Two species live in our state and are sometimes hard to tell apart. In both, adults have gray upperparts, with a black cap and white cheeks. Underparts are white, the sides buffy, the throat and upper breast black.
Black-capped chickadee (generally northern Missouri): from midwinter to spring, wing coverts and some secondaries are edged in white. The lower edge of the black bib may appear ragged. Song is a 2- or 3-syllable phrase with the first note slightly higher than the second: “fee-bee” or “fee-bee-bee.” Call is a slow “chick-a-dee-dee-dee.”
Carolina chickadee (generally southern Missouri): the wing coverts are gray, not white. The lower edge of the black bib is more sharply defined than in the black-capped chickadee, and sides and flanks of winter adults are gray, much less buffy, as well. Song is a 4-note phrase with the first and third notes higher than the second and fourth: “fee-bee fee-bay.” The “chick-a-dee-dee-dee” call is noticeably faster than the black-capped’s.