The Firecrest, Regulus ignicapillus, is a very small passerine bird in the kinglet family. It breeds in most of temperate Europe, northern Africa, and Madeira. It is partially migratory, with northern and eastern birds wintering south of the breeding range. In winter it is often found with tit flocks.
This is the second smallest European bird at 9 to 10cm. The Firecrest is greenish above and has whitish underparts. It has two white wingbars, a black eye stripe and a white supercilium. It has a crest, orange in the male and yellow in the female, which is displayed during breeding, and gives rise to the English name for the species. This is a restless species, constantly on the move as it searches for insects, and frequently hovering. It resembles the Goldcrest, but its bronze shoulders and strong face pattern are distinctive.
The Firecrests on Madeira, previously treated as a subspecies R. i. madeirensis, are now treated as a distinct species Madeira Firecrest Regulus madeirensis; it has a shorter supercilium, duller orange crest and a longer bill.
- Firecrest videos on the Internet Bird Collection
- Ageing and sexing (PDF) by Javier Blasco-Zumeta