Two things came together for today’s posting: the 2023 Creston Valley Bird Festival used a picture of a Golden-crowned Kinglet on their annual poster; my daughter, Cynthia, found and introduced me to the bird. Now, both of these events were about only one type of bird, but there are only two kinglets that visit us, so let’s treat them both. 

Kinglets are very small birds, about the size of hummingbirds and so about half the size of a Black-capped Chickadee. They move about frenetically, often high in the trees and so are rather difficult to spot and photograph. Kinglets (little kings) get their name from their coloured crown. 

Kinglets are most visible in early spring and late fall when a number of them are passing through the area.

We start with the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, but as all the ones I have seen were in an April, these are all from earlier years. Then presented are the recent Golden-crowned Kinglets.

This Ruby-crowned Kinglet seems to lack a coloured crown. That is either because it is a female (which does lack it) or a tranquil male (for which it is hidden).

When excited, the male Ruby-crowned Kinglet will display a red crown.

These red feathers were displayed in response to a scratching.

Both sexes of Golden-crowned Kinglets show the coloured crown.

When the Golden-crowned Kinglet is excited its golden crown become flecked with red.

Launching shots are more likely due to the frenetic behaviour. Photo by Cynthia Fraser.

A Golden-crowned Kinglet snacks on a fly.


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6 Responses to Kinglets

  1. Christine Boyd says:

    Very beautiful – and interesting to know that about them. Thank you, Alistair.

  2. Sarah says:

    Hard to photograph is right — they hop around so fast! Thanks for the fun post, Sarah in Moscow, Idaho

  3. Bee says:

    The close-up of the Ruby Crowned Kinglet is quite remarkable.

  4. denyse says:

    Absolutely beautiful. So interesting to see the fine details also. One very seldom gets to see the birds from so close.


  5. Karen Pidcock says:

    These are amazingly elegant views of the kinglet crowns likely not to have seen, Alastair! Many, many thanks!! Once, in southern Arizona, Dirk and I enjoyed the RCK exhibiting their crowns visually.

  6. Mary McQueen says:

    The Ruby Crowned Kinglet has visited us in North Carolina in the fall for two years now. I had never seen the little bird before and was interested in finding out what he was as I kept noticing the red on the top of his head appear and then disappear as he jumped from branch to branch near a window. I was finally able to make a video of him and then research him on the internet. Such an interesting and beautiful little bird.

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