Weighing in at just 6 grams and measuring a miniscule 9cm from top of head to tip of tail, the Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) holds the title of Britain’s smallest bird. And it’s a cutie!
Though its overall plumage is a somewhat dull green, its distinguishing feature is the Mohawk-style stripe on the top of its head – it’s a vibrant yellow that’s easy to spot, and the stripe has an orange centre in male birds.
Goldcrests are most often found in coniferous woodland but they can also be found in urban settings. The birds in my photos were at Cosmeston Lakes Country Park (which is not primarily coniferous), along part of the south Wales coastal path (where there were no conifers to be seen) and in Cardiff’s Cathays Cemetery (where the wee bird was doing a grand job of cleaning up the old gravestones).
Goldcrests are completely insectivorous so are not able to feed from garden bird feeders, putting them at risk in very cold winters when there are no insects to be found. Fortunately, though, their numbers are stable, and their delightful antics can be enjoyed throughout Britain.