Ruby-crowned Kinglet

photo by Phil Swanson

Regulus calendula
L 4 1/4″ (11 cm).

Song or calls:
Listen (NGPC audio)

Harsh “ji-dit.” Song begins with several high, thin notes followed by loud, whistled phrases.

Description: Tiny and plump. Grayish-olive above; dusky below; incomplete white eye-ring; short, slightly forked tail; and two white wing bars. Male’s red crown patch is seldom visible; crown patch lacking in female. Lacks striped crown.

Behavior: Active and nervous; flicks wings rapidly when calling.

ruby crowned kinglet
Habitat: Found in a wide variety of forested and shrubby habitats, including parks and gardens. Occurs in both deciduous and coniferous vegetation, showing no particular preference for either one.

Food: Characteristically hovers above a twig looking for caterpillars, aphids, and other insects.

Where in Nebraska: Common to uncommon spring and fall migrant, and rare and local winter resident across the state.

Field Notes: Because kinglets are so small, they can feed on the tips of conifer branches.

Fun Facts: The latin name for the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is “little king”.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet - photo by Phil Swanson Ruby-crowned Kinglet - photo by Phil Swanson
(click image for larger view)