Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Regulidae | [latin] Regulus calendula | [UK] Ruby-crowned Kinglet | [FR] Roitelet a couronne rubis | [DE] Rubin-Goldhahnchen | [ES] Reyezuelo de Rojo | [NL] Roodkroonhaantje


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Hyliota calendula
Regulus calendula
Regulus calendula NA widespread MA
Regulus calendula calendula
Regulus calendula grinnelli
Regulus calendula obscurus

Physical charateristics

A tiny, stub-tailed birdlet; olive-gray, with a strong black wing bar below the white ones. Male with a scarlet crown patch (usually concealed; erect when excited).
Broken white eye-ring gives a big-eyed look. Any kinglet without a crown patch and eye stripe is this species. Both kinglets flick wings.

Listen to the sound of Ruby-crowned Kinglet

[audio: Kinglet.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 16 cm wingspan max.: 18 cm
size min.: 9 cm size max.: 11 cm
incubation min.: 12 days incubation max.: 14 days
fledging min.: 16 days fledging max.: 18 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 5  
      eggs max.: 12  


North America : widespread


Conifers in summer; other trees and brush in winter. Breeds in conife
rous forest, including those of spruce, fir, Douglas-fir, and some pine woods. Winters in a wide variety of habitats, mainly in open deciduous woods, also in coniferous and mixed woods, mesquite brush, streamside thickets.


In courtship, male may crouch horizontally, fluttering wings and raising red crown feathers while singing.
Nest: Usually in spruce, sometimes in other conifer; nest averages about 40′ above
ground, can be up to 90′, or very low in far northern forest where trees are short. Nest is attached to hanging twigs below a horizontal branch, well protected by foliage above. Female builds deep hanging cup of moss, lichens, bark strips, spider webs, tw
igs, rootlets, and conifer needles, lined with feathers, plant down, animal hair.
Eggs: 7-8, sometimes 4-9. In Pacific Northwest, 9-10 eggs, sometimes 7-12, a remarkably large clutch for small size of bird. Eggs whitish to pale buff, with brown spots often
concentrated at larger end. Incubation is by female, about 13-14 days. Male may feed female during incubation.
Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest about 16 days after hatching. 1 brood per year.

Feeding habits

Mostly insects.
Feeds primarily on small insects; includes many beetles, flies, leafhoppers, true bugs, caterpillars, and many others. Also eats spiders and pseudoscorpions; diet includes eggs of insects and spiders. In winter, also eats some berries and seeds. Sometime
s takes oozing sap or visits flowers.
Forages actively, from treetops to low brush, examining foliage and branches for food. Often hovers while taking items, and sometimes flies out to catch insects in midair. Compared to Golden-crowned Kinglet, does more hovering and flycatching, less hangi
ng on twigs.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet status Least Concern


Canada, Alaska, western United States. Winters to Guatemala. Migration: Migrates a little earlier in fall and later in spring than Golden-crowned Kinglet. In many areas, peak migration periods are October and April.

Distribution map

Ruby-crowned Kinglet distribution range map

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