Encounter the Goldcrest!

Although it might be the smallest bird in the UK, with its fiery crest, it is also widely known as the ‘King of Birds’.

Meet the Goldcrest

Photo courtesy of Andrey Gulivanov / CC BY 2.0


The wren (Regulus regulus) is a very small passerine bird in the wren family. It is not only the smallest bird in Britain, but also the smallest bird in Europe, measuring only 3.3 to 3.7 inches long. With olive green upperparts and white undersides, the golden crested has two white wingbars. The crown of the head has black sides and a narrow black front topped with a bright orange-yellow crest in the male. The beak is black and the legs are dark brown.

Photo (cropped) Courtesy of Andrey Gulivanov / CC BY 2.0


Apart from the color of the crest, the females are yellow, the sexes are quite similar.

Juveniles are similar to adults, but tend to have duller upperparts and lack a colored crown.

Photo courtesy of gailhampshire / CC BY 2.0


Several subspecies are recognized over a fairly large area, including most of the Palearctic and the islands of Micronesia and Iceland.


These birds like to live and breed in coniferous and mixed woodland areas. Outside of the reproductive season, it also likes to live in bushes and deciduous trees.

Photo courtesy of Francis C. Franklin / CC-BY-SA-3.0


Goldcrest feeds on small insects and spiders found in trees. During the winter it likes to feed on seeds and insects that it finds on the ground. The young of this species grow rapidly thanks to a diet rich in insect larvae and small spiders.


During the breeding season, the female builds a compact three-layer nest on a tree branch. The nest is cup-shaped and built with cobwebs, moss and twigs. The interior is covered with feathers and hair, in which it lays between 10 and 12 eggs, which it incubates for 15 days. She continues to raise the chicks once they hatch, however, the male helps with feeding.

Photo courtesy of hedera.baltica / CC BY-SA 2.0


Despite a recent population decline, this species does not approach the Vulnerable thresholds based on size range criteria as it has an extremely large range.

Photo courtesy of Jo Garbutt / CC BY 2.0


Watch and listen to this bird below:

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