Sunday, 18 January 2015

Day 78 - Gorgeous Goldcrests

Goldcrest (Regulus regulus)
Hey everyone, well it's day 78 and I've a little treat here that I saw just a few hours ago. I'll apologise now for the picture quality but it was almost dark and I think it was just feeding itself up before getting set for a cold night, it's been snowing here most of the day great for snowball fights for me and Dad but tough on the birds!

I'm talking here about a lovely Goldcrest! I don't seem them very often, and when I have they are very quick. There are a pair though that visit my grandparents garden, and this is one of them I saw when I visited earlier.

So what have I found out about these gorgeous little guys:

  • They are the smallest birds to visit our gardens, the smallest bird in Europe in fact.
  • Incredibly they weigh just 6 grams and are only 9cm long with a wingspan of 14cm.
  • If you think that's small, their eggs are tiny, they weigh less than a gram and are only 14mm x 10mm.
    Looking for more titbits on the floor
  • A slightly weird thing I found out is that females will lay 6 to 8 eggs in each clutch - so the eggs together weigh more than the mother! Sometimes though there are 12 eggs!
  • Another interesting fact is that sometimes before the first chicks have fledged the female will leave the male to feed them while she builds a second nest. This can mean they can produce as many as 20 chicks per year. This is very important when very cold winters can leave only a quarter of the population left to breed again.
  • They are a green status bird with around 610,000 breeding territories, these birds are joined in winter by millions more from Scandinavia.
  • They have little thin beaks which are ideal for getting little insects out of pine trees which is where they mostly live. 
  • The latin name regulus means a prince or kinglet, our old friend Linnaeus named them so I wonder if he was thinking their crest (yellow in females more orange in males) was a bit like a crown?
  • They typically live 2 years but a Goldcrest has been recorded as living just over 4 years

Well, there's a lot to these little birds. If you want to find out more try these sites:

Hope you enjoyed,


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