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Goldcrest

The goldcrest is Europe’s smallest bird and every gardeners’ friend.

051017 Goudhaan door Jan de Koning

Today I noticed a goldcrest on one of my plant pots in our Wawonagarden. I was lucky to notice this small bird, since she ( I think) stood still, like a statue. I suppose she was tired after her long journey.

Smallest European bird

The goldcrest is Europe’s smallest bird. From beak-tip to tail he measures only 8.5 centimeters. And your kitchen scale points at only 5 grams. It’s amazing!

You can spot goldcrests here in The Netherlands all year long, but the population is shifting. On our yearly birdwatch trip to one of our Wadden islands in the north, we usually spot lots of them. In this time of year they migrate from North Scandinavia, in spring they move back to the north.

goldcrest in Wawonagarden

Goldcrest profile (Regulus regulus)

  • small, common year-round breeding bird in The Netherlands
  • in pine woods and mixed forests, now and then in gardens
  • thin, high call, barely audible for some people
  • sings in all seasons
  • olive green back and off-white belly
  • male: a soft touch of orange in yellow crown line
  • female: yellow crown line
  • food: aphids, spiders and onther small creatures

Firecrest

The firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus) has a conspicuous broad and white eyebrow line. The male firecrest lives up to his name: its head is adorned with a bright orange crown line.

Gardeners’ friend

Goldcrests live in small groups, sometimes accompanied by tits, and you should look for them high up in pine trees.
They eat small insects such as springtails, and also spiders. And aphids! So they are welcome visitors in your garden.

Top photo: goldcrest at bird research station on Schiermonnikoog island, The Netherlands (by Jan de Koning).

This is an edited English version of my Dutch blog on this website.

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