Family Kinglets and Firecrests (Regulidae)

Least Concern

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)


French: Roitelet à couronne rubis German: Rubingoldhähnchen Spanish: Reyezuelo rubí

Motacilla Calendula


, 1766,

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


Has sometimes been placed in a separate genus, Corthylio; according to several genetic studies only distantly related to other members of present genus, from which it differs considerably also in morphological and vocal characters. In USA, described races cineraceus (from California) and arizonensis (Arizona) considered not definitely separable from E populations, and therefore synonymized with nominate. Two extant subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • R. c. grinnelli Palmer, 1897 – S Alaska and SW Canada (British Columbia, including Vancouver I and other islands); in winter limited southward migration to W USA.
  • R. c. calendula (Linnaeus, 1766) – NW Alaska and N Canada to Nova Scotia and WC, SW & NE USA (S to S California, C Arizona and C New Mexico); non-breeding C & S USA S to N Central America.
  • R. c. obscurus Ridgway, 1876 – Guadalupe I, off Baja California (Mexico).
  • Descriptive notes

    10–11 cm; 5–8 g. Tiny and fairly compact passerine with dark greyish plumage. Male nominate race is ashy grey above, with slight olive-green shimmer on scapulars... read more


    Territorial song composed of three parts, a series of high whistled “tsee” notes,... read more


    Breeds in coniferous forest dominated by Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), also... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insects, including their larvae and eggs, also spiders (Araneae) and mites (Acarina). Particularly adapted to aerial capture of winged prey... read more


    Season late May to mid-Jul; apparently only one brood (second broods not reported). Nest a typical pendent cup made of mosses, lichens,... read more


    Chiefly migratory. Less hardy than R. satrapa, moves far more to S, and tends to avoid... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common. According to large-scale Breeding Bird Survey (by USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center) in North America, local populations... read more

    Recommended citation

    Martens, J. & Päckert, M. (2020). Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula). 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 22 January 2020).