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Golden-crowned Kinglet Regulus satrapa


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Golden-crowned Kinglet
credit:  Gary Irwin/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Regulidae, Kinglets view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has mostly gray olive-green upperparts, but note the striking markings on the wings with two white wing bars, the lower and bolder of the two emphasized by black at the base of the secondaries. Face is adorned with long, white supercilium, emphasized below by dark eyestripe and above by black margin to golden yellow crown; bright orange center to crown is revealed only when bird is displaying. Face is otherwise olive-gray and underparts are pale gray-buff. Legs are black and feet are yellowish. ADULT FEMALE Similar to male, but with a more yellow crown that lacks the orange center. JUVENILE Similar to adult female, but lacks yellow on crown.

Dimensions Length: 3 1/2 -4" (9-10 cm)

Habitat Widespread and common summer visitor (mainly Apr-Sep) to northern coniferous forests. Found year-round in coniferous and mixed forests further south, including increasingly in spruce plantations (less frequently in deciduous woodland); winter migrants favor similar habitats.

Observation Tips Can be hard to follow when foraging actively high in foliage. However, migrants in particular, will often forage much lower and are typically indifferent to human observers.

Range California, Texas, Rocky Mountains, Southwest, Southeast, Alaska, Eastern Canada, Mid-Atlantic, Florida, Great Lakes, Northwest, Western Canada, Plains, New England

Voice Song is a sweet tswee, tswee, tswoo, tswit-tswit-tswit; call is a thin twsee.

Discussion Tiny and extremely active songbird with a thin, needlelike bill. Superficially warblerlike overall, but recognized by rather dumpy proportions and extremely small size. Distinctive head markings allow separation from similarly sized Ruby-crowned. Forages continuously for small insects and spiders, searching along twigs, buds, and among needles, and sometimes hovering to glean prey from otherwise inaccessible spots. Sometimes found in small flocks, and joins roving mixed-species flocks of other small birds outside breeding season. People with good hearing often locate hidden feeding birds by their thin calls. Sexes are dissimilar.