Goldcrest

©Richard Burkmar

Goldcrest

Scientific name: Regulus regulus
A king among birds, the Goldcrest displays a beautiful golden crown. Our smallest bird, it can be spotted in conifer woodlands and parks across the UK.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 9cm
Wingspan: 14cm
Weight: 6g
Average lifespan: 2 years

Conservation status

Classified in the UK as Green under the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red List for Birds (2015).

When to see

January to December

About

The Goldcrest is a tiny kinglet of conifer woodland, scrub, parks and gardens. In autumn, resident birds are joined by large numbers on migration; they arrive on the east coast and are often found in bushes on sand dunes. The Goldcrest is widespread in the UK, apart from in areas which are treeless, such as fens and northern Scotland. In winter, it joins other tits and woodland birds in flocks. Although it is our smallest songbird, it can lay up to 12 eggs in a clutch, which is about one and a half times the adult female's bodyweight.

How to identify

A tiny little bird, the Goldcrest is olive-green above, buff-white below, with a double white wingbar. The male has a bright orange crown, edged with black; while the female has a yellow crown. The similar Firecrest is a much rarer bird, with a black eyestripe and broad white eyebrow stripe.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Weighing in at less than 6 grams, the Goldcrest is Europe's smallest bird. Despite its size, its beautiful golden crown might well have earned it the title of 'King of the Birds' in European folklore. Its Latin name, Regulus regulus, also refers to its crown and means 'petty king' or 'prince'.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.