Goldcrest (Regulus regulus)
Goldcrest, Edinburgh, Scotland, February 2004 - click for larger image Scotland

The Goldcrest is distributed throughout most of Europe and across southern Siberia and the Himalayas to Japan and China. It has a more northerly distribution than the similar Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus which is found, for example in southern England while Goldcrest is found throughout the British Isles.

It is closely linked to coniferous forest and woodland preferring spruce, silver fir and mountain pine to larch and Scots pine. It also seems to find introduced conifers attractive and I occassionally see a few Goldcrest in a mixed tit flock on a cypress tree near my house. More recently a pair have spent the winter in my garden.

Goldcrest, Edinburgh, Scotland, February 2004 - click for larger image It feeds on insects and spiders mainly foraging in trees but occassionally dropping to the ground.

At 9 cms it is the smallest European bird and is pale green above and dirty white below. The yellow crown-stripe with black borders is perhaps its most noticeable feature but note also its large, dark eye in a "cute" and "innocent" face compared to the more severely marked Firecrest.

Goldcrest, Edinburgh, Scotland, February 2004 - click for larger image The red at the end of the crest in the 5th photo indicates that this is a male.

Its thin, high-pitched calls are normally what alerts one to its presence.

Goldcrest, Edinburgh, Scotland, February 2005 - click for larger image
Goldcrest, Edinburgh, Scotland, April 2005 - click for larger image
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