Family Kinglets and Firecrests (Regulidae)

Least Concern

Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa)


French: Roitelet à couronne dorée German: Indianergoldhähnchen Spanish: Reyezuelo sátrapa

Regulus satrapa

M. H. C. Lichtenstein

, 1823,

North America


Traditionally considered closely related to, or even conspecific with, R. ignicapilla on basis of morphological features; molecular and acoustic data, however, suggest a sister-species relationship with R. regulus, but highly differentiated from latter in vocalizations and genetic markers. Race clarus weakly differentiated from aztecus, and possibly better merged with it. Described race amoenus (ranging from S Alaska and S Yukon S through interior mountains to S California, Utah and Colorado) tentatively synonymized with apache. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • R. s. olivaceus S. F. Baird, 1864 – SE Alaska and extreme SW Canada (coastal British Columbia) S in coastal W USA to Oregon; non-breeding also S to S California.
  • R. s. apache Jenks, 1936 – interior Alaska and SW Canada (S Yukon) S through Cascades and Rocky Mts to SW USA (S to S California and New Mexico); non-breeding also S to N Mexico.
  • R. s. satrapa M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1823 – S Canada (except in W) and NE & E USA (S in Appalachian Mts to Tennessee).
  • R. s. aztecus Lawrence, 1887 – SC Mexico (mountains from Jalisco and Michoacán E to S Hidalgo and S to C Oaxaca).
  • R. s. clarus Dearborn, 1907 – mountains of S Mexico (Chiapas) and S Guatemala.
  • Descriptive notes

    8–11 cm; 5–6 g. Tiny, dark olive-green passerine with prominent head pattern. Male nominate race has intensely yellow crown with few orange feathers mixed in,... read more


    Territorial song in two parts, main part a series of whistled “seeeh” notes ascending... read more


    Conifer forests, preferably mature stands at least 80 years of age and with closed canopy; also in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Variety of insectsMale with prey and spiders (Araneae), including their larvae and eggs. Forages mainly by clinging and hanging from twigs... read more


    Season May–Aug; first nest-building activities early May, laying from second week of May; two broods per season, initiation of second... read more


    North American populations chiefly migratory, but resident throughout large parts of W (coastal... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common. According to large-scale North American Breeding Bird Survey (by USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center), local populations are stable, with... read more

    Recommended citation

    Martens, J. & Päckert, M. (2020). Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 28 January 2020).