Goldcrest by Jon Lees

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this goldcrest was working hard in the winter sunshine searching for bugs.

Canon 40D, sigma 150-500mm @500mm
ISO400, F6.3 1/400sec

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The Goldcrest, Regulus regulus, is a very small passerine bird in the kinglet family, resembling the Firecrest but with a plainer face.

The Goldcrest is the smallest European bird, measuring from 8.5 to 9.5 cm and weighing as little as 5g. It is dull greenish above, with buff/white underparts, two white wingbars, and a plain face with a conspicuous black eye. The crown has black sides and a narrow black front, and a bright central crest, orange in the male and yellow in the female, which is displayed during breeding. It is a restless species, constantly on the move as it searches for insects.


Several subspecies of the Goldcrest have been described:123

Continental Eurasia

  • R. r. regulus Linnaeus, 1758, nominate subspecies: Europe
  • R. r. himalayensis Bonaparte, 1856: Himalayas
  • R. r. japonensis Blakiston, 1862: Eastern Asia, including Japan, Korea, China and Siberia
  • R. r. tristis Pleske, 1892: China, Central Asia
  • R. r. coatsi Sushkin, 1904: Russia, Central Asia
  • R. r. yunnanensis Rippon, 1906: eastern Himalayas, Burma, China
  • R. r. hyrcanus Zarudny, 1910: Iran
  • R. r. buturlini Loudon, 1911, Caucasian Goldcrest: Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia
  • R. r. sikkimensis Meinertzhagen & Meinertzhagen, 1926: India and China


Considerable radiation of the Goldcrest into distinct taxa has occurred in the Canary and Azores archipelagos.

  • R. r. azoricus Seebohm, 1883, Sao Miguel Goldcrest: São Miguel
  • R. r. teneriffae Seebohm, 1883, Tenerife Goldcrest: endemic to Tenerife and often treated as a full species
  • R. r. inermis Murphy & Chapin, 1929, Western Azores Goldcrest: Flores, Faial, Terceira, São Jorge and Pico
  • R. r. sanctaemariae Vaurie, 1954, Santa Maria Goldcrest: endemic to Santa Maria
  • R. r. ellenthalerae Päckert, Dietzen, Martens, Wink & Kvist, 2006: Western Canary Islands Goldcrest, La Palma and El Hierro

[edit] Distribution and habitat

The Goldcrest has a wide range in Eurasia, as well as in Macaronesia. It is partly migratory and in northern Europe and Asia birds winter south of the breeding range. It prefers coniferous woodlands, although it has a wider range in winter, when it is often found with tit flocks.
[edit] Diet

Money spiders can form part of their diet.4
[edit] Behaviour
[edit] Breeding

It builds an open nest and lays 4-12 eggs.
[edit] Relationship with humans

In Britain, Goldcrests were previously called Gold-crested Wrens, and are celebrated in a poem by Charles Tennyson Turner with that title. It is the national bird of Luxembourg.
[edit] References

1. ^ Vaurie, Charles. (1954). Systematic notes on Palearctic birds. No. 8, Sylviinae, the genus Regulus. American Museum Novitates 1684.12. ^ Avibase Accessed 7 January 20083. ^ Päckert, Martin; Dietzen, Christian; Martens, Jochen; Wink, Michael & Kvist, Laura. (2006). Radiation of Atlantic goldcrests Regulus regulus spp.: evidence of a new taxon from the Canary Islands. Journal of Avian Biology 37(4): 364-380. Digital Object Identifier: 10.1111/j.2006.0908-8857.03533.x HTML abstract Electronic Appendices4. ^ RSPB Birds magazine, Winter 2004
  • BirdLife International (2004). Regulus regulus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern


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  • swaby
    swabyover 4 years ago

    Pretty little bird Jon! Great capture!

  • Thanks Swaby, it wasn’t the best mornings photography but i got a couple of ok shots! Jon

    – Jon Lees

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