Junco VS Chickadee: Complete Difference Explained

Junco VS Chickadee

In America, the Junco and Chickadees are two common birds that can be spotted. But they are often confused with each other because of the similarities that these two birds share.

Juncos and chickadees have clear differences but the Black-capped chickadees and Dark-eyed junco have some major similarities that make it hard to differentiate between these two.

However, there are some differences between these two birds. And In this article, I’ve explained all such differences between Junco and Chickadee in detail. 

What Are Juncos?

Juncos are the bird species that belong to the Junco genus. However, when it comes to the species of Juncos, there is always a debate.

Some experts say that there are 12 species of Junco while others accept only three species of Junco and the remaining species are split into subspecies rather than being of their own species.

Now, the most common species of Junco, i.e. the Dark-eyed Junco, is split into at least six groups and each group has its subspecies. There is a total of 15 subspecies in total. 

The Dark-eyed Junco is divided into six groups, which include, Grey-headed dark-eyed Junco, Pink-sided dark-eyed Junco, Red-backed dark-eyed Junco, Brown-backed dark-eyed Junco, and White-winged dark-eyed Junco, and Slate-colored Dark-eyed Junco. There are sub-species in each category.

However, many birds look completely different from each other despite being in the same species.

The Slate-colored dark-eyed Junco has a completely different coloration as compared to the Oregon dark-eyed Junco. 

What Are Chickadees?

Chickadees are the bird species that belong to the Poecile genus and are often referred to as tits in the regions outside America.

Chickadees are birds that live in America and are usually found in North America, Central, and South America.

Most chickadee birds do not migrate and the most common Black-capped chickadee is among them. 

There are several tits in the same genus as the chickadees and including the Marsh tit, the Willow tit and they both live in Europe.

But the most common chickadees, Black-capped Chickadees, have the most similarities with Juncos which makes it difficult to make a difference between these two birds. 

Junco VS Chickadee Difference Table

Basis JuncoChickadee
Size13 to 17.5cm in length and have an average weight between 18 to 30g (0.6-1 oz)12 to 15 cm in length and have an average weight between 9 to 14g (0.3 to 0.49oz)
Wingspan18 to 25 cm16 to 21 cm
ShapeHeads are chunkier, and more upright with small, lightly colored pale-pink beaksBody and head are slender tits while beaks are black
BehaviorGregarious throughout the yearSolitary and territorial in the breeding season
HabitatConiferous forests across North AmericaBoth deciduous and evergreen coniferous forests. They live in urban environments as well.
Sounds and CallsHigher-pitched tick sounds or chips soundChick-a-dee-dee-dee
MigrationMigrates to short distances during winter, usually from Canada to North America. Non-migratory birds but can move locally during the winters

Junco VS Chickadee: Size and Shape

Often dark-eyed Juncos and Black-capped chickadees are confused because of their resemblance in terms of size and shape.

The Dark-eyed Juncos are of the size of 13 to 17.5 cm long while their body mass is between 18 to 30g (0.6-1 oz).

The wingspan of Juncos is between 18 to 25 cm. Juncos have chunkier heads and are upright with small, lightly colored pale-pink beaks. 

While the Black-capped chickadees have slender tits in terms of their body and head shape. Typically, they have black beaks.

When it comes to the size of these birds, they are 12 to 15cm while their average weight is between 9 to 14g (0.3 to 0.49oz). The wingspan of these birds is 16 to 21cm.

Junco VS Chickadee: Habitat

The habitat of the dark-eyed Juncos is primarily in coniferous forests across North America. They often also breed in these forests. They are flexible about elevation.

Juncos can live at sea-level heights of more than 11,000 feet. While the habitat of black-capped chickadees is deciduous and evergreen coniferous forests.

They are also capable of living at reasonably high elevations. These birds are also comfortable living in urban environments. 

Junco VS Chickadee: Behavior

In the non-breeding season, both of these birds are quite gregarious but during the breeding season, the Black-capped chickadees are often solitary and territorial.

When it comes to their feeding behavior, Dark-eyed juncos feed primarily from the ground. But the Black-capped chickadees feed on tree canopy or bushes.

You will find the nest of the Juncos at lower heights than chickadees too and they choose to nest on the floor underneath buildings. 

Junco VS Chickadee: Sounds and Call

When it comes to making the difference between these two birds based on sounds or calls, then it is a little easy to make difference.

The chickadees have an alarm call that sounds like chick-a-dee-dee-dee. While on the other hand, Juncos have higher-pitched tick sounds and chips. Their click sound can be quite distinctive. 

Junco VS Chickadee: Migration

During the winter season, birds usually migrate to places that have good food sources, the same stands true for these two birds as well.

Juncos usually migrate short distances which is Canada to North America. However, the dark-eyed Juncos in the south-western mountains and southern Pacific Coast of the United States do not migrate.

While the Black-capped chickadees are non-migratory. They usually migrate locally and it is generally from the mountains to lower elevations in winter. 


Dark-eyed Juncos and Black-capped Chickadee are two birds that share similarities in terms of their looks. But these birds can be differentiated by seeing their head and beak.

All such similarities and differences between these two birds are mentioned in this article. You can use this information to make a comparison between these two. 

At last, I hope this article may have helped you in some way. Thank You For Reading!

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