The Ruby-crowned Kinglet has grayish-white underparts and olive-gray upperparts, a grayish-white eye ring broken at the top, and double white wingbars . The male has a red crest but is normally never seen. The female resembles the male, but is duller and lacks the red crest. This bird is slightly smaller than the smallest warbler measuring 3 3/4 - 4 1/4" in length with a wingspread of 6 3/4 - 7 1/4".
The Ruby-crowned Kinglet, as well as the Golden-crowned Kinglet prefer northern coniferous forests but will frequent gardens and yards. The kinglets turn, hop and flick their wings continually as they search for insects and larvae among the leaves of pines and crevices of branches. In migration, they may join warblers, nuthatches and other birds.
The song of the Ruby-crowned Kinglet is loud and opens with a high-pitched tee tee tee and then drops to a low tew tew tew and ends with a repeated ti-da-dee or li-ber-ty.
Migratory. Winters from Gulf to Central America. Breeds in Canada and northwest Alaska.
In courtship, the male displays his brilliant scarlet (red) crown patch which is normally hidden. Both male and female build the nest which is a hanging globular moss cup among twigs of a pine branch. The nest is composed of moss and cobwebs and lined with feathers, rootlets and soft bark. The nest can be found in a spruce, firs or pines anywhere from 3-80 feet above ground. During the months of May-July, as many as 5-11 (usually 7-9) eggs are laid which are white with brown spots. The eggs hatch within 12-13 days and are incubated by the female. The first young leaves the nest approximately 13 days after hatching.
Natural Feeding Habits:
This bird's diet is mainly insects which include moths, beetles, ants, wasps, butterflies, caterpillars, spiders and eats elderberries and weed seeds. They also drink tree sap and some fruit. They feed at the tips of branches, twigs, leaves and pine needles.
John James Audubon referes to this bird as the Ruby-crowned Wren.
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