Golden-crowned Kinglet

Hey guys, welcome back. Today, one of the smallest passerines in North America, the tiny Golden-crowned Kinglet. If any of you are from Eurasia, you may be thinking “That’s a Goldcrest!” Well, you’re right, essentially. There are two kinglet species here in North America; golden-crowned and ruby-crowned. They have nearly identical relatives across the Atlantic known as the Goldcrest and Firecrest. Kinglets can be challenging to spot, and to photograph despite what you may see in this post haha. They are barely larger than a hummingbird. The Golden-crowned Kinglet is a greyish bird with olive wings that usually have yellow highlights. Their face has a black eye line, and a black crown with a yellow stripe down the middle. They actually have a crest that can be raised. That crest is more of an orange-yellow which makes their “golden crown” golden and not simply yellow.

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Golden-crowned Kinglet perched upside down on a pine needle, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO

Wait. What’s a passerine? I called the kinglet a passerine, and for those that are wondering what that meant, it’s actually pretty simple. Passerines are any bird in the order passeriformes. Also called “perching birds” or even sometimes “song birds” (though that name isn’t so accurate as non-passeriformes do sing.) Passeriformes is the largest order of birds, containing more than half of all bird species.

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Golden-crowned Kinglet on a Hackberry tree, Central Park, NY

Golden-crowned Kinglets love conifers. Though you will see them in deciduous trees, they love conifers, particularly spruce and fir trees. And I’ve certainly seen a lot of them in conifers. Now, the Golden-crowned Kinglet is typically only found in the U.S. in the winter (with some exception), while spending the summer in central Canada.  In fact, these tiny birds are so hardy that they can tolerate temperatures below -40 degrees Fahrenheit! How? Well, there’s a reason they make winter coats with feathers in them. Feathers are able to trap heat better than hair or fur!

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Golden-crowned Kinglet, Forest Park, St. Louis, MO

These little guys are always moving around, which can make them quite difficult to spot. They eat mostly insects, and so when feeding, are almost a constant flurry of motion. So, good luck getting a good look at them! And with that, we’ll wrap up for today. Come back next time when we kick off June with another warbler species; one with two color morphs (and I actually have pictures of both!), the Palm Warbler. See you all then!

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