Need Chipmunk ID Help!

Attached is a picture taken in the Selkirk Mountains of northeast Washington State. I am in debate as to red-tailed vs. yellow pine. It appears to have features of both and five different field guides aren’t helping. Anyways, it was in an open/”managed” forest environ, 4500′ elevation. Most were found high in trees or shrubs. The large, bushy tail suggests red-tailed but lacks that very defined red that field guides point out, however its tail seems larger and more red than the yellow-pines I’m used to in the Cascades. Its back stripes are dark, but not very dark stripes. Its rump color seems olive-gray, suggesting more yellow-pine, ah…chipmunks are a real difficult group to ID! Any thoughts are very appreciated.

Red-tailed? Yellow-pine?

Red-tailed? Yellow-pine?


  • Alan

    I had the same issue on my recent trip to N. Idaho. The ones I photographed look about the same as yours and I decided they were Yellow-pine since there just wasn’t enough red on the sides and tail. Of course, I only have the web and Peterson’s guide to go by so I am far from an expert. But, Yellow-pine is my vote.

  • sflamand

    Jon, Did you look at the picture I sent of what I thought was a Red-tailed Chipmunk in Glacier? The tail seemed very red on the underside. However not super bushy. The sides of the chipmunk were pretty bright orange. (Hard to tell from the picture I sent) The cheek was orange and the stripes were very dark. Overall it seemed like it was a very colorful chipmunk.
    I would love to know what you think of the picture I sent.
    Yours does look like it has characteristics of both species.
    Chipmunks are tough!

  • vdinets

    Being high in trees sounds more like red-tailed.

  • mattinidaho

    I vote red-tailed chipmunk, based on the bushy tail.

  • Jon Hall

    I just took a look through several books and it seems to me the only way to tell these species apart for sure is size (which you can’t do here) or from the underside of the tail which should be “brilliant red” in a Red-tailed … did you get a look at the underside of the tail? Oh chipmunks are a challenge

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