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Number of species: 72

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Ruby-crowned Kinglet - Regulus calendula

Males are readily recognized when showing their ruby crown, but it is often concealed, and easiest to confirm when in the hand.  Ageing cues on the wing tend to be subtle and difficult to identify reliably; shape of rectrices is somewhat more distinct for many individuals, but again there are many intermediates, therefore skulling is recommended in fall, and in spring many individuals are best classed as AHY unless wing and tail provide a consistently distinct indication of age.

Quick Tips:

  • Examine the crown - females lack red feathers, while males have a central red patch, but note that it may be well concealed.
  • Check the shape of the outer rectrices - on HY/SY birds they are narrow and pointed, while on AHY/ASY birds they tend to be more broad and rounded; however, there are many intermediates that are difficult to classify
  • Compare the median and greater coverts - on some HY/SY birds a molt limit can be seen between the fresher/darker median coverts and older/duller greater coverts or between fresh inner greater coverts and older reatined outer greater coverts, while on AHY/ASY birds they are uniform in appearance (but beware it can be subtle, especially in poor light)
  • Look at the primary coverts - on many HY/SY birds they are narrow and pointed (with minimal green edging remaining by spring), while on AHY/ASY birds they tend to be more broad and rounded (with distinct green edging retained through spring).

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory

Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.
Age / Sex  Image sets 
After hatch year / Male
Ruby crown (though often concealed); uniform wing with greenish edging on broad and rounded primary coverts; broad and rounded rectrices.
Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58257-Regulus_calendula_AOU_7_52-3879.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58257-Regulus_calendula_AOU_7_52-3877.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58257-Regulus_calendula_AOU_7_52-3878.jpg
After hatch year / Female
Lacking red in the crown; uniform wing with greenish edging on broad and rounded primary coverts; broad and rounded tail.
Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58246-Regulus_calendula_AOU_7_52-3885.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58246-Regulus_calendula_AOU_7_52-3883.jpg Thumbnail - MG2-2550-58246-Regulus_calendula_AOU_7_52-3884.jpg

Additional age / sex class descriptions

The following additional age / sex class descriptions were found for this species:
Age / Sex   Age / Sex class description
Second year / Male Ruby crown (though often concealed); may have subtle molt limits among median and greater coverts; primary coverts somewhat narrow/pointed and with limited green edging; relatively narrow and tapered rectrices.
After second year / Female Lacking red in the crown; uniform wing with greenish edging on broad and rounded primary coverts; broad and rounded tail.
After second year / Male Ruby crown (though often concealed); uniform wing with greenish edging on broad and rounded primary coverts; broad and rounded rectrices.
Hatch year / Female Lacking red in the crown; may have subtle molt limits among median and greater coverts; primary coverts somewhat narrow/pointed and with limited green edging; relatively narrow and tapered rectrices.
Juvenile / Unknown No red on the crown; otherwise similar to HY but with slightly more brownish upperparts.
Hatch year / Male Ruby crown (though often concealed); may have subtle molt limits among median and greater coverts; primary coverts somewhat narrow/pointed and with limited green edging; relatively narrow and tapered rectrices.
Second year / Female Lacking red in the crown; may have subtle molt limits among median and greater coverts; primary coverts somewhat narrow/pointed and with limited green edging; relatively narrow and tapered rectrices.
Number of species: 72

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