Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Hey guys, welcome back! Today we have a teeny tiny little bird; the ruby-crowned kinglet! The second of two kinglet species in North America, like the golden-crowned we covered a while back, the ruby-crowned also has a very close Eurasian relative, known as the flamecrest. Size and habits are very similar to the golden-crowned, but it’s found in pine trees less often than it’s yellow-headed cousin. The ruby-crowned kinglet is a small, plump bird, fairly uniformly colored a greyish-green. They do have white wingbars, a weak eyering, and, of course, a ruby red crest. However, unlike the golden-crowned, the ruby-crowned’s crown is often hidden. They will raise it during migration and breeding time, but when it’s not raised, it can be completely hidden.

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Ruby-crowned kinglet not showing any red on its head, Central Park, NY

Kinglets are tiny, frenetic birds. Insectivores, kinglets are constantly on the move going after bugs nearly invisible to the human eye. This behavior makes them both easy and difficult to spot. Easy, because they’re always moving, so if you’re tuned in to looking for movement, you can spot them right away. Difficult, because they never hold still long enough for you to get a good enough look at them! I’ve been pretty lucky photographing kinglets, as the pics in this post can attest. They move so rapidly, that you need to really be good at using a pair of binoculars to see them. My friend Marieke doesn’t think they actually exist, they move so fast. She thinks they’re just a trick of the light! But kinglets do exist, I promise!

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Ruby-crowned kinglet with just a little bit of red showing, Central Park, NY

Ruby-crowned kinglets are widespread, found nearly everywhere from southern Mexico to northern Canada. They winter in the southern U.S., and summer in Canada. So although they can be found year round in the U.S., they’re mostly winter/migration birds here in the lower 48. That’ll wrap it up for today. Join me next time when we look at one of my favorite sparrows; the Field Sparrow. See you all then!

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