Ruby-crowned KingletRegulus calendula

adult male
Brian E. Small/VIREO
adult female
Laure W. Neish/VIREO
Laure W. Neish/VIREO
adult male
Laure W. Neish/VIREO
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet



3 3/4-4 1/2" (10-11 cm). Tiny. Similar to Golden-crowned Kinglet, but greener, with no face pattern except for narrow white eye ring. 2 white wing bars with dark area beyond second. Males have tuft of red feathers on crown, kept concealed unless bird is aroused. Hutton's Vireo is larger, with thicker bill, larger head, and no dark area beyond second wing bar.


Song an excited musical chattering.


jit and jidit calls
song #2
continuous song
song #1
rapidly repeated notes
song #3


Coniferous forests in summer; also deciduous forests and thickets in winter.


Breeds from Alaska east across Canada to Newfoundland, south to southern California and New Mexico in West, and to Great Lakes region and northern New England in East. Winters south from southern British Columbia and California across southern tier of states to southern England.


Because kinglets weigh little, they are able to feed on the tips of conifer branches. The Ruby-crowned feeds lower in the canopy than the Golden-crowned and characteristically hovers above a twig looking for caterpillars, aphids, and other insects. The Ruby-crowned is not as social in its winter range as the Golden-crowned and occurs singly more often than in flocks. It takes a sharp eye to see the male's red crown patch, which is usually erected for a few seconds at a time when the bird is displaying aggressively. It has a characteristic habit of nervously flicking its wings.


6-9 cream-colored eggs, lightly speckled with brown, in a large mass of moss, lichens, and plant down with a small feather-lined cup at the top.

Similar Species

adult male

Golden-crowned Kinglet

3 1/2 -4" (9-10 cm). Tiny. Olive green above, paler below, with 2 dull-white wing bars.


Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet

4" (10 cm). A nondescript, dull-colored bird with a tiny bill. Olive-gray above with pale buff wing bars; whitish below with dusky throat and breast.

adult, Texas

Bell's Vireo

4 3/4 -5" (12-13 cm). Smaller than a sparrow. Dull olive-gray above, whitish below, with faint white eye ring and fainter wing bars.


Cassin's Vireo

5-6" (13-15 cm). Very similar to both Blue-headed and Plumbeous Vireos, with plumage roughly intermediate between the two.

adult, Southwestern

Hutton's Vireo

4 1/4-4 3/4" (11-12 cm). A small, grayish-olive vireo with a partial white eye ring below, incomplete "spectacle," and 2 white wing bars separated by blackish. See Ruby-crowned Kinglet.


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