|Conservation status||Populations rise and fall, with many apparently being killed during exceptionally harsh winters. Overall, however, species is widespread and common.|
|Habitat||Conifers in summer; other trees and brush in winter. Breeds in coniferous forest, including those of spruce, fir, Douglas-fir, and some pine woods. Winters in a wide variety of habitats, mainly in open deciduous woods, also in coniferous and mixed woods, mesquite brush, streamside thickets.|
Forages actively at all levels, from treetops to low brush, examining foliage, twigs, and major limbs for foods. Often hovers while taking items from foliage, and sometimes flies out to catch insects in mid-air. Compared to Golden-crowned Kinglet, does more hovering and flycatching, less hanging on twigs.
7-8, sometimes 4-9. In Pacific Northwest, 9-10 eggs, sometimes 7-12, a remarkably large clutch for small size of bird. Eggs whitish to pale buff, with brown spots often concentrated at larger end. Incubation is by female only, about 13-14 days. Male may feed female during incubation. Young: Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest about 16 days after hatching. 1 brood per year.
Both parents feed nestlings. Young leave nest about 16 days after hatching. 1 brood per year.
Mostly insects. At all seasons, diet is primarily small insects, the birds concentrating on whatever is most readily available; includes many small beetles, flies, leafhoppers, true bugs, caterpillars, and many others. Also eats spiders and pseudoscorpions; diet includes eggs of insects and spiders. In winter, also eats some berries and seeds. Sometimes takes oozing sap or visits flowers, possibly for nectar.
In courtship, male may crouch horizontally, fluttering wings and raising red crown feathers while singing. Nest: Usually in spruce, sometimes in other conifer; nest averages about 40' above ground, can be up to 90', or very low in far northern forest where trees are short. Nest is attached to hanging twigs below a horizontal branch, well protected by foliage above. Female builds deep hanging cup of moss, lichens, bark strips, spiderwebs, twigs, rootlets, and conifer needles, lined with feathers, plant down, animal hair.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Migrates a little earlier in fall and later in spring than Golden-crowned Kinglet. In many areas, peak migration periods are October and April.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsSong an excited musical chattering.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.