Golden-crowned Kinglet: Very small, warbler-like bird, olive-green to gray upperparts and pale breast. Head has bright orange crown patch bordered with yellow and black, white eyebrows and black bill. Tail is short and wings have two bars. Female similar but lacks orange in the yellow crown. Weak fluttering flight on shallow wing beats.
Range and Habitat
Golden-crowned Kinglet: Common from southern Alaska across central Canada and southeast to the Carolinas; breeds in the northern parts of its range and spends winters south throughout much of the U.S. to Florida and the Gulf coast. Preferred habitats include dense conifer forests; also found in deciduous and mixed forests.
The kinglets are one of the one hundred eighteen families of birds in the order PASSERIFORMES (pronounced pas-ser-i-FOR-meez); a large taxonomic order that also includes the pipits, the titmice, and the gnatcatchers.
There are six species of kinglet in one genus in the Regulidae (pronounced reh-GYOO-lih-dee) family, a group of birds restricted to the forests of the Northern Hemisphere.
In North America, two species of kinglets in one genus occur. These are the Golden-crowed Kinglet and the Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
Among the smallest of Passerines, the kinglets are known for their diminutive size. Both the Golden-crowned and the Ruby-crowned Kinglets are also known for being very numerous during migration and in regions where they overwinter with hundreds of individuals often encountered ina single day.
Members of the Regulidae are very small birds with medium length tails, longish wings, medium length, thin legs with strong feet for perching, and a rounded head with a short, thin, pointed bill.
Kinglets have dull olive upperparts, and gray or whitish underparts with yellowish edging to the feathers of the wings. They also have black in the wings, in the tail, and some species have black markings on the face. All species have one or two white wing bars, white markings on the face, and distinctive patches of bright orange, yellow, or red on the crown.
Members of the Regulidae in North America are forest birds although they also occur in second growth and scrub habitats during migration and winter. Both species breed in boreal and montane coniferous forests, and spend the winter in a variety of wooded habitats in the southern United States and Mexico.
Kinglets migrate to the southern United States and Mexico for the winter.
The kinglets do not nest in colonies but typically flock together with other kinglets and with other small birds outside of the breeding season. These arboreal birds forage for small arthropods in trees and bushes by gleaning them off of the vegetation while perched, and picking them off of the vegetation while hovering.
Kinglets are very common, non-threatened species.
The Golden-crowned Kinglet is highly tied to spruce-fir forests while breeding and prefers similar habitats during migration and winter. Formerly restricted to breeding in the boreal forests of the far north, this species now also breeds much further south in many areas with spruce plantations.