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Number of species: 79

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Golden-crowned Kinglet - Regulus satrapa

Golden-crowned Kinglet has a partial preformative molt, but no prealternate molts. This species can be relatively difficult to age, as age-related differences in wing and tail patterns are often subtle; especially by spring, when a fair number of intermediates cannot be reliably aged and are best considered M-FCF (AHY), unless wing and tail cues clearly agree on a particular age. Individuals showing a distinct orange crown stripe are easily recognized as males, but this feature is often concealed and females should be identified with greater caution.

Quick tips

  • Examine the crown - males have an orange crown stripe but it can be well concealed.
  • Check the shape of the outer rectrices - on FCF (HY/SY) birds they are narrow and pointed, while on DCB (AHY/ASY) birds they tend to be more broad and rounded; however, there are many intermediates that are difficult to classify.
  • Look at the primary coverts - on many FCF (HY/SY) birds they are narrow and pointed (with minimal green edging remaining by spring), while on DCB (AHY/ASY) birds they tend to be more broad and rounded (with distinct green edging retained through spring).
  • Examine the inner greater coverts - on a minority of FCF (HY/SY) birds up to four feathers are replaced and are slightly longer and darker than the adjacent older feathers, but uniform greater coverts can be seen at all ages.

Species account prepared by McGill Bird Observatory (2018). Last updated by Marcel Gahbauer (Mar 2022)

The molt categories displayed below may be filtered by month.

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Click on any image below to bring up the side-by-side comparison tool.

Individuals not in molt

FCJ - (HY: June - August)
Whitish supercilium, but lacking yellow or orange on crown; orange gape
No images available yet
FCF - (HY/SY: July - following August)
Primary coverts and rectrices narrow and pointed; up to four inner greater coverts sometimes longer and darker; crown stripe yellow (F) or yellow with an orange centre (M)
M
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F
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DCB - (AHY/ASY: July - following August)
Primary coverts and rectrices relatively broad and rounded; coverts uniform in colour and wear; crown stripe yellow (F) or yellow with an orange centre (M)
F
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Individuals in active molt

FPJ - (HY: June - August)
Whitish supercilium, but lacking yellow or orange on crown; orange gape; some natal down feathers remaining
No images available yet
FPF - (HY: July - September)
Yellow (F) or yellow and orange (M) crown feathers growing in; lesser and/or median and/or inner greater coverts being replaced
No images available yet
SPB - (SY: July - August)
Flight feathers being replaced, with at least some retained juvenile primary coverts or rectrices that are distinctly pale brownish, worn, and narrow and pointed
No images available yet
DPB - (AHY: July - August)
Flight feathers being replaced, with retained feathers either distinctly adult (relatively dark, less worn, somewhat broad and rounded) or intermediate
No images available yet

Applicable unknown plumage/age classes

Molt classes Age Months Key traits
M-FPF / UPU (FPF, SPB, DPB) U July - August Undergoing preformative or prebasic molt, but cycle is not reliably distinguishable
M-FCF / UCU (FCF, SCB, DCB) U/AHY January - December In formative or basic plumage (molt completed), but cycle is not reliably distinguishable

Number of species: 79

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