Nature Profile


Golden-crowned Kinglet

Regulus satrapa

Voice: Song: high pitch tsee-tsee-tsee-tsee varies in number Call: thin tsee note 

Barely larger than a hummingbird, golden-crowned kinglets have a remarkable ability to endure cold climates. They can survive extreme temperature of -40 degrees. During nesting season, they can be seen high in the trees in boreal spruce-fir forests. In Ohio, they are more frequently seen later in the fall and early spring on lower level branches of trees and shrubs. 

Golden-crowned kinglets feed on small invertebrates including insect, spider and their eggs. During the breeding season, they glean for pray from branches, under bark and in-between conifer needlesIn addition to gleaning, golden- crown kinglets have an amazing ability to hover underneath a branch to capture insects off the undersides of the vegetation. In fall, winter and early spring, they search twigs, stems, and vines for dormant invertebrates and eggs. They will eat a small amount of seeds when insects are sparse. 

Golden-crowned kinglets build their nest 6-60 feet high in evergreens such as balsam fir, white spruce, and black spruce. Both sexes spend 4-6 days building a deep hanging cup shaped nest usually close to the tree trunk. The nest is generally protected from the elements by overhanging needles. Nests are primarily made of strips of bark but can include mosses, spiderwebs, parts of insect cocoons, lichens and other downy plant material. Nests are lined with finer material including deer hair and feathers. 

Females lay 8-9, sometimes 5-11 elliptical creamy whitto pale buff, with brown and gray spots eggsEggs are often arranged in 2 layers in nest. Females incubate the eggs for about 14-15 days. Male may feed female during incubation. Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest about 14-19 days after hatching. Females feed their first brood only one day after leaving the nest. Despite primarily nesting in the Boreal forest, golden-crowned kinglets surprisingly raise two large sets of young per season. Females start laying the second set of eggs while the male takes care of the first set of fledglings.  

Golden-crowned Kinglets are numerousPartners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 100 million. They have been expanding breeding southward towards Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. However according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey, populations overall have declined between 1966 and 2014 due to habitat loss.  

Photo Credit: Rhododendrites, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Best Location to View: Woodland Garden, Old Valley Trail, Woodland Trail

Color: Pale olive above and gray below; black-and-white striped face, bright yellow-orange crown; thin white wing bar with yellow edges to their black flight feathers; black and yellow feet

Range: Across the US and Canada; resident to medium-distance migrants; migrates late fall and early spring; Northern Pacific Coast permanent residents.

Size: 3.1-4.3"

Wingspan: 5.5-7.1"

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