Belongs to: tits

Goldcrest Regulus regulus

Best time to see: all year

Key facts

Tiny, plump, pugnacious bird with a golden crest

Prefers conifer woods but also uses other trees to breed, including in gardens

Resident, localised in summer because of shortage of conifers


Smallest European bird, rotund with shortish tail; 9 cm

Very active, flicking its wings continuously during a non-stop search for food

Feeds on insects, spiders; in winter associates with tit flocks 


Nest is an elaborate structure of spiders' webs, moss and feathers, suspended from twigs near the end of a branch

Usually 2 broods April to June; 7–10 white eggs, speckled brown

Males have been known to fight to the death over a female in the courtship season

© Gerald Downey