Living with Birds 21 Facts on Goldcrest Tweetapedia

Living with Birds 21 Facts on Goldcrest Tweetapedia

21 Facts
21 Facts On Goldcrest I1
21 Facts On Goldcrest I2


  1. Once known as the golden-crested wren, the goldcrest is not only Britain’s smallest bird, but the smallest in the western Palearctic.
  2. The average weight is around 5-6g; a wren weighs 7-12g.
  3. Goldcrests are widespread throughout much of Europe, but in southern Europe are largely replaced by the similar firecrest.
  4. The goldcrest’s world range includes the Himalayas and Japan.
  5. Despite their tiny size, goldcrests are highly migratory, with a large influx of birds from the Scandinavia and the near-Continent arriving on the east coast of Britain every autumn.
  6. Immigrants arrive in Britain from late August through to early November, departing the following March and April.
  7. Early ornithologists didn’t believe a bird as tiny as a goldcrest could fly across the North Sea unaided, and it was thought that they rode on the backs of migratory woodcock or short-eared owls.
  8. The old country name of woodcock pilot comes from this belief.
  9. Exhausted migrants are typically unafraid of humans, and some will even land on people.
  10. Large falls of migrants sometimes occur. One, on the Isle of May in October 1982, numbered at least 15,000 birds.
  11. It is thought that in contrast to their Continental cousins, goldcrests that nest in Britain are sedentary, seldom moving far from where they hatched.
  12. Because of their tiny size, they are rarely found dead; most ringed birds recovered have been killed by cats.
  13. They are almost exclusively insectivorous, with spiders forming an important part of the diet.
  14. They generally feed towards the tip of tree branches or in tree crowns, typically hovering in front of spiders’ webs.
  15. The male’s surprising loud but high-frequency song frequently reveals his presence. The song can be heard from late winter until well into the summer.
  16. Many people of senior years find the song impossible to hear.
  17. The nest is a spherical cup made of lichens, cobwebs, moss and hair, usually suspended in twigs near the end of a conifer branch.
  18. A typical clutch is 9-11 eggs that take 16 days to incubate.
  19. Most pairs will try and rear two overlapping broods each spring, with the female starting the second clutch before her first brood have fledged.
  20. The male assumes responsibly for feeding the first brood as soon as his mate starts to incubate the second clutch.
  21. The goldcrest has a North American equivalent, the ruby-crowned kinglet. Though similar in size and habits it’s not as brightly coloured.

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