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A Tiny But Mighty Songbird Wearing An Electrifying Orange Cap That Instantly Transforms Into A Fiery Crest!

A tiny, hyperactive songbird with an uneven white eyeliner sporting an impressive orange cap that can be flared up into a fiery crest.


“Ruby-crowned Kinglet” by Dan Pancamo is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The ruby-crowned kinglet (Corthylio calendula) is a member of the kinglet family. This bird has olive-green plumage with two white wing bars and a white eye-ring. Males have a red crown patch, which is usually concealed. It is one of the smallest songbirds in North America. The ruby-crowned kinglet is not closely related to other kinglets and is put in its own genus, Corthylio.

“Ruby-crowned Kinglet” (cropped) by Becky Matsubara is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Three subspecies are currently recognized.

The female’s appearance is pretty much the same as the male’s, except that she does not have the red crown patch.

“Ruby-crowned Kinglet (m)” (cropped) by Becky Matsubara is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The kinglet is migratory, with a range that extends from northwest Canada and Alaska south to Mexico.

Photo Courtesy of Dan Pancamo / CC BY-SA 2.0

These birds like to live in a habitat consisting of spruce, or fur trees in the northernmost mountainous regions of the U.s and Canada.

“Ruby-crowned Kinglet” by Becky Matsubara is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

While hunting for food the kinglet usually moves along branches and through surrounding foliage with short hops, flying with bursts of rapid wing beats. It is constantly active and is easily recognized by its characteristic wing-flicking. Its flight has been described as “swift, jerky, and erratic.” Their diet consists mainly of insects and spiders, but it also consumes berries and other fruits, seeds, and tree sap.

Photo Courtesy of Membeth / CC0

During the breeding season females arrive in the nesting areas in early May, building a cup-shaped nest high in conifer trees. The nest is mainly composed of moss, lichen, fine grasses, and shredded bark. She lays 5-12 eggs within, which she then incubates for 12 days. After the chicks hatch, they are cared for by both parents, becoming fully-fledged after 16 days.

“Ruby-crowned Kinglet (m)” by Becky Matsubara is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

This bird is regarded as of Least Concern on the IUCN red list.

Photo Courtesy of TonyCastro  / CC BY-SA 4.0