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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, M. & W. von Wright: Svenska fåglar (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Goldcrest

Regulus regulus

  • Family: Regulidae
  • Appearance: Very small warblers with rounded bodies and short tails. Distinctive yellow or orangish stripe on top of cap, lined with black stripes. Upper parts greenish, underparts off-white. Black eyes appear beady due to surrounding pale eye patch
  • Size: Length 8.5–9.5 cm, weight 4.5–7 g. Europe’s smallest bird.
  • Nest: A ball-like structure built hanging from a spruce branch around twigs for support usually at a height of 7–10 metres (1.5–15 m possible). Made of moss, beard lichen and spiders’ webs, lined inside with feathers.
  • Breeding: 8–12 eggs laid in April–May, incubated by female for 14–16 days. Fledglings remain in nest for 15–16 days.
  • Occurrence: Breeds in spruce-dominated forests in Southern and Central Finland. More common further south, but present as far north as the Oulu region. Finnish breeding population estimated at 0.6–1.6 million pairs.
  • Migration: Mainly by night. Most birds leave Finland September–October, returning March–April. Winters in Western and Central Europe, though many birds may stay in Finland even in northerly parts of their range. During harsh winters most birds overwintering in Finland may die.
  • Diet: Invertebrates.
  • Calls: Various thin and high-pitched calls (so high that older people cannot easily hear them). Song a fragile lilting rhythmic refrain.

Goldcrests are the smallest birds found in Finland. They have olive green upper parts and pale, slightly yellow-tinged greyish underparts. Their best distinguishing feature, apart from their size, is a distinctive bright yellow stripe running along the top of their head, lined with narrower black stripes. On males the central parts of this stripe are darker orangish yellow. They have whitish grey patches around their dark beady-looking eyes. Their dark wings have two yellowish white stripes and their wing feathers and tertial wing covert feathers have yellowish white edges. Goldcrests have brown legs, dark brown irises, and small blackish brown beaks.

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