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Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Regulidae
Genus: Regulus
Cuvier, 1800
See text.

The kinglets or crests are a small group of birds often included in the Old World warblers, but frequently given family status because they also resemble the titmice. They have representatives in North America and Eurasia. There are now seven species in this family. Madeira Firecrest, R. madeirensis recently split from Firecrest as a separate species. The scientific and English names come from the fact that the adults have coloured crowns.

Recent molecular techniques have added some confusion the true phylogeny of the Regulidae Family. They are placed in the Superfamily Sylvioidea (e.g., nuthatches, treecreepers, tits, wrens, crests/kinglets, swallows, bulbuls, babblers, and warblers). This is likely correct however the relationships of Regulidae are unresolved.A Myoglobin tree was used in the research in order to differentiate linneages.(Alström)

  • Goldcrest, Regulus regulus
    Tenerife Goldcrest or Orangecrest, R. teneriffae, split from Goldcrest as separate species
    Firecrest, R. ignicapillus
    Madeira Firecrest, R. madeirensis
    Taiwan Firecrest or Flamecrest, R. goodfellowi
    Golden-crowned Kinglet, R. satrapa
    Ruby-crowned Kinglet, R. calendula

All members of the family are 9-15.5 cm. These birds have an eye-ring or a stripe at the supercilium. The males possess a colorful crown patch. They have one specific feather which projects forward over the nares.


  • Podlesak, D. W. (2005). Stable isotopes in breath, blood, feces and feathers can indicate intra-individual changes in the diet of migratory songbirds. Oecologia, 142: 4: 501-510.
  • Cumming, E.E. (2004) Habitat segregation among songbirds in old-growth boreal, mixed wood forest. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 118: 1: 45-55
  • Hayes, J.P. (2003) Response of birds to thinning young Douglas-fir forests. Ecological Applications. 13:5: 1222-1232
  • Heinrich, Bernd. (2003) Overnighting of Golden-crowned Kinglets during winter. Wilson Bulletin. 115:2: 113-114
  • Humple, D.L.,et al. (2001) Female-biased sex ratio in a wintering population of Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Wilson Bulletin. 113:4: 419-424
  • Gill, F. (1995). Ornithology. USA: W.H. Freeman.
  • Bent, A.C. (1964). Life histories of North American thrushes, kinglets, and their allies. New York: Dover Publications
  • Alström, P.(2006, February). Phylogeny and classification of the avian superfamily Sylvioidea. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 38 (2).Retrieved March 2006, from

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