Ruby-crowned kinglet (Regulus calendula)

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Ruby-crowned kinglets are one of BC’s tiniest species of songbird. They are identifiable by their olive-green plumage, a white eye-ring, and white wing-bar. Male ruby-crowned kinglets have a bright “ruby crown” that is only visible occasionally. This species is one of the two kinglet species we have in British Columbia, both of which have been spotted in the Esquimalt Gorge Park. The other species is the golden-crowned kinglet which can be differentiated from ruby-crowned kinglets by a bold black eyebrow and bright yellow crown.

Kinglets are very active, quick-moving birds that can often be found high up in dense forests. Kinglets eat a variety of insects which they glean from branches. Ruby-crowned kinglets nest high up in trees. They are known for constantly flicking their wings as they move between trees.

There are two subspecies of ruby-crowned kinglets in BC. On the coast we have Regulus calendula grinnelli. This subspecies is non-migratory, primarily staying on the coast but making short altitudinal movements to lower elevation or limited southward migration during the colder months. The other subspecies, Regulus calendula calendula, is more common in the Interior. This subspecies is migratory, flying to Southern/Southwestern United States or Mexico for the winter.

For more information, visit the BC Breeding Bird Atlas and All About Birds by the Cornell Lab.

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