Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Jim Parrish
Photo Copyright Jim Parrish

The ruby-crowned kinglet, Regulus calendula, is a very small, plump songbird that breeds in Alaska, Canada, and the high mountain spruce-fir forests of the western United States. Some individuals remain in parts of the western United States year-round, but most migrate south to the southern United States, the west coast of the United States, and Mexico for winter. The ruby-crowned kinglet is a common year-round resident in the coniferous forests of Utah, although some individuals migrate south and some move to lower elevation parks and woodlands during the winter. Many migrating individuals can be found in Utah's Virgin River Valley during the winter.

The diet of the ruby-crowned kinglet consists of insects, spiders, fruits, and seeds. Monogamous pairs form soon after the females reach the breeding grounds in the spring. The females then begin building elongated hanging nests that are secluded near the tops of trees. A variety of materials are used to construct the outer part of the nests, including: moss, feathers, bark, grasses, and spiders webs. The inside of the nests are lined with soft, fine material. A female typically incubates five to twelve eggs, a surprisingly large clutch size for such a small bird. During the two week incubation period, the male will sometimes bring food to the female. The young are born naked and blind, and both parents bring food to the nest. The young leave the nest about sixteen days after hatching, and receive parental care for at least another ten days.


  • Behle, W. H., Sorensen, E. D. and C. M. White. 1985. Utah birds: a revised checklist. Utah Museum of Natural History, Occasional Publication No. 4. Salt Lake City, UT.

  • Peterson, R. T. 1966. A field guide to western birds, second edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

  • Ingold, J. L., and G. E. Wallace. 1994. Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula). Birds of North America 199.