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Identification and Pictures

KingletKinglets are tiny birds 4 to 4 1/2 inches; they are one of the smallest in America.  They are constantly moving, and flicking their wings, making them difficult to see as they flit from place to place.  Ruby-crowned kinglets and the Golden-crowned kinglets are the two that are seen in North America.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned kinglets are olive above, and white below.  One of the most striking features of this bird is the broken white eye-ring which gives it the appearance of large eyes. The wings have two white bars. The Primary and secondary flight feathers are dark.  Wings and tail feathers have a yellow leading edge so flashes of yellow are seen on flight. 
The adult male has a bright ruby red crown patch which is usually hidden.  The red patch is displayed when the bird is excited.

Photos by Keith Lee.  The camera I use is the Canon EOS 40D.

Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) 301/4 to 4 inches

Golden-crowned kinglets are also olive-gray birds.  The Golden-crowned kinglets have a bold black, and white striped facial pattern and gold crown patch.  The crown patch is yellow in females, and orange to red in males.  The adults always show the crown patch with a black border, and have a white stripe over the eyes.

Sound of Kinglet
uby-crowned kinglet's call is a single quick di-dit. The song is 3 to 4 high notes followed by several low notes, and a chant like (tee tee tee tew tew tew tedatee tedadee tedadee).

Golden-crowned Kinglets call note is single see see see.  The song is a series of high thin notes like the call, which drop down into a chatter

Golden-crowned Kinglet:  Click for Sound

Preferred Habitat

Kinglets like conifer forests. Both Ruby, and Golden crowned kinglets will join flocks of other birds for feeding.  In winter they can be found in other woodlands and forests.

Breeding and Nesting

Kinglets form new pairs each year for mating.  Females build the nests, which are usually in conifers.  The nest is usually well hidden. It is a deep nest of grass, lichen, bark strips, twigs, rootlets, needles.  Spider webs comprise the outer walls, and feathers, plant down, and hair form a soft lining.

Females incubate 7 to 12 whitish eggs with brown and gray spots, for about 2 weeks.  The male will bring her food while she sits on the nest.  Both parents will feed the young, which will leave the nest in about 15 days.  The females may leave the breeding territory but the male will continue to feed the young birds for 10 or so days.

Food and Feeding

Kinglets like to eat small insects.  They will often feed in groups of birds such as nuthatches, chickadees, titmice and others.  They are always on the move with quick playful movements, hopping about in the branches of trees and bushes in forests or even in backyards.

For more on food and feeding click here.
For more on feeders click here.
To learn about other favorite birds click here.

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