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Fauna Series No. 3







Faunal Position

Life Zones







Fauna of the National Parks — No. 3
Birds and Mammals of Mount McKinley National Park
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Penthestes atricapillus turneri [RIDGWAY]

GENERAL APPEARANCE.—A small bird with a distinctly black and white head and soft fluffy feathers. This long-tailed chickadee has a distinct and intensely black crown. The black throat is separated from the black crown by a broad white stripe that extends from the base of the bill along the side of the head below the eye. The tail is long and the outer margins of the feathers are edged with white as are also the wing coverts. Length, 5.2 inches.

IDENTIFICATION.—The distinctly black crown distinguishes the Yukon from the Alaska chickadee, and the lack of any rufous on the flanks and under parts distinguishes this species from the short-tailed Hudsonian chickadee. The lack of any white stripe above the eye sets it off from the mountain chickadee.

DISTRIBUTION.—It breeds in northern Alaska, north and west of Cook Inlet. In the McKinley region it is found at lower elevations.

HABITS.—It is a rare species in the McKinley region; we have but one record, a specimen collected at Wonder Lake on October 22, 1926, by John and Paula Anderson, M. V. Z. No. 50558.

Penthestes cinctus alascensis [PRAZAK]

GENERAL APPEARANCE.—A large chickadee with a long tail and grayish, instead of black, crown which distinguishes alascensis from turneri. The size is slightly larger than in turneri and the tail feathers lack any distinct white edging. Length, 5.5 inches.

IDENTIFICATION.—It is easily distinguished from the Yukon chickadee by the gray instead of the black crown, and from the Hudsonian chickadee by the lack of any red or rufous color on the flanks and belly.

DISTRIBUTION.—It is distributed throughout Siberia, and northern Alaska east to northwestern Mackenzie. In Mount McKinley National Park it is found well distributed in the aspen and spruce forests.

HABITS.—At Savage River Camp on July 25, 1926, a family of five Alaska chickadees consisting of an adult and four young was found. One of these, an immature bird, was collected, No. 49742. An adult male was also collected 2 days previously. People living in the region told us that these chickadees disappear in the spring and are rarely seen all summer, but that in the fall they again gather about the cabins to be fed.

Penthestes hudsonicus hudsonicus [FORSTER]

GENERAL APPEARANCE.—A small chickadee with a short tail, reddish flanks and under parts. Length, 5.1 inches.

IDENTIFICATION.—The small size and reddish under parts are the best field characters for this species.

DISTRIBUTION.—It breeds from the tree limit in northwestern Alaska and central Mackenzie south to central Manitoba and Ontario. It is found near timber line in the spruce woods throughout the McKinley region.

HABITS.—This is one of the cheeriest and most inquisitive birds of the region. On June 3, 1932, I observed a Hudsonian chickadee carrying a bill full of caterpillars to its nest in an aspen grove near park headquarters. In 1926, this species was scarce. Only three individuals were seen all summer, whereas, in 1932 it was a species which was commonly seen in the area. Two specimens were collected and fully fledged young just out of the nest were observed June 23, 1926. It is a regular breeding species in the McKinley region.

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Last Modified: Thurs, Oct 4 2001 10:00:00 pm PDT

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