South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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Golden-crowned Kinglet

Regulus satrapa

Length: 4 inches Wingspan: 6.5 to 7 inches Seasonality: Winter / Migrant
ID Keys: Tiny size, short tail, facial striping, tiny pointed bill, orange in center of crown with yellowish-orange border.

Golden-crowned Kinglet - Regulus satrapaGolden-crowned Kinglets are among the smallest of birds to be found in the state, but are quite hardy, being found the most in South Dakota in winter.  Extremely tame, they will often allow extremely close approach.  During the winter months in the state, they often are found in mixed foraging flocks which also contain chickadees, nuthatches, Downy Woodpeckers, and Brown Creepers.

Habitat: During the summer breeding season, they are found in dense conifer forests.  They are also most commonly found in conifer forests during winter and in migration, but can also occasionally be found in deciduous forests. 

Diet: The majority of the diet is very small insects and spiders, including many insect and spider eggs.  They also have been known to feed on sap from sapsucker drill wells, and occasionally on small berries.

Behavior: Very active when foraging, hopping quickly among branches.  Much of their time foraging is spent hanging upside down from the tips of branches.  They will also occasionally hover as  they pick insects from foliage.

Nesting: June and July

Breeding Map: Breeding bird survey map

Song: Song beginning with tse-tse-tse followed by a rapid trill.  Click to hear the Golden-crowned Kinglet's song.  Also, click for the Golden-crowned Kinglet's call.

Migration: Summers throughout much of Canada's conifer forests, along the Pacific Coast of the U.S., conifer forests of the western U.S., and in the northeastern U.S. and northern Appalachians.  Winters throughout much of the United States and northern Mexico, with some populations along the Pacific Coast of Canada and the U.S. being permanent residents.

Similar Species: Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Conservation Status: Numbers appear to be stable, although there are year-to-year variations, with declines noted after especially harsh winters.  They have also begun to expand their breeding range in some locations, particularly in the Northeast U.S.

Further Information: 1) Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, Golden-crowned Kinglet

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - Golden-crowned Kinglet"

3) eNature.com: Golden-crowned Kinglet

Photo Information: October 15th, 2005 -- Atkins Slough in Lincoln County -- Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution Golden-crowned Kinglet photos.

 

Click on the range map for a higher-resolution view
Golden-crowned Kinglet - Species Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common migrant, uncommon winter visitor statewide.  Uncommon permanent resident in the Black Hills.