Regulus ignicapilla - Roitelet triple-bandeau
- Size: 9 cm
- Wingspan: 14 à 16 cm.
- Weight: 5 à 7 g
The Common Firecrest is, alongside its humped cousin, one of the two smallest birds in Europe. The former weighs only 5 to 5.5 grams. At first glance they look like tiny green birds. To distinguish between them, the easiest way is through their song, although this is only applicable during spring. Otherwise one must look at their heads. The most visible difference is on the side. The Common Firecrest has a black band on the eye, which is very visible against the white background, while the Humped Firecrest does not have one. Just like its cousin, its crown has three longitudinal bands, a large, orange or yellow median band surrounded by two black ones. This is where the small sexual dimorphism lies. The median band is bright orange on the male, yellow on the female, sometimes tinted with orange. These colorful feathers can stand up into a short crest when the bird is excited or anxious. On the Common Firecrest, the black lateral bands on the crown are wider and more visible thanks to the wide white eyebrows. A white crescent accents the dark eye, which is in turn accented by a black moustache line. The Rtp (Common Firecrest) is more colorful above than its cousin. The nape, sides of the neck and cloak are a bright green-yellow. The forehead is golden and the cap of the male is a brighter orange. The undersides are paler, a slightly grayish white with the throat slightly creamy. The juvenile is duller in plumage, and can be recognized and distinguished from the Humped Firecrest by its head. The cap is gray, without the three bands of the adult. The sides of the head are marked by a white eyebrow and white arc under the eye which clearly stand out, in contrast to the uniformity that characterizes the young Humped Firecrest. The eye band is barely developed, and is a grayish color.
Subspecific information 4 subspecies
- Regulus ignicapilla ignicapilla (w, c and s Europe, Asia Minor)
- Regulus ignicapilla caucasicus (w Caucasus)
- Regulus ignicapilla tauricus (Crimea)
- Regulus ignicapilla balearicus (Balearic Is., nw Africa)
- Roitelet triple-bandeau,
- Reyezuelo listado,
- tüzesfejű királyka,
- brandkronad kungsfågel,
- králik ohnivohlavý,
- králíček ohnivý,
- Rødtoppet Fuglekonge,
- bruel eurasiàtic,
- zniczek (zwyczajny),
- rdečeglavi kraljiček,
- Красноголовый королёк,
Voice song and cries
The calls of the Common Firecrest are high-pitched whistles, sometimes with a slightly unrefined tone, which differentiates them from the Hoopoe's. Its song is a rapid sequence of identical high notes related to the calls ssississississississi ...srrr with a brief different final pattern. So, a simplistic and monotonous song, different from the Hoopoe's modulated singing, but loud for the size of the bird.
Like the Marsh Tit, the Common Firecrest occupies natural alpine, scrubland, and pine forests, as well as plantations of spruce or exotic species. But unlike the Marsh Tit, it can be found in mixed forests and even pure deciduous forests when habitat features such as the presence of ivy on the trees or evergreen foliage such as that of holly or cork oak are favored. In the Maghreb, it is present in cedar forests at altitudes of over 1600m.
Behaviour character trait
As Common Firecrest, like the Great Tit, is an unassuming bird that can be observed up close when the opportunity arises.
With its 5.5 grams and its small, relatively rounded wings, the Common Firecrest does not seem to be geared towards migratory behavior, yet...hundreds of kilometers are traveled. Flight is direct and rather fast for its size, not very undulating. When it looks for food, it knows how to flutter among the trees, hovering in place to seize a prey.
As with all kinglets, the Common Firecrest feeds exclusively on insects. Whereas the Rufous-tailed Robin systematically hunts through dense foliage and mainly under branches and leaves, the Common Firecrest prefers to hunt prey that are perched or catch them while flying in more open contexts.
The Common Firecrest breeding season runs from April to August, and double broods are possible. They most often nest in tall conifers, often over 10 metres up.
The breeding range of the Common Firecrest is mainly European, with extensions in the Maghreb and Anatolia. It is found on Mediterranean islands, except Cyprus. It is a bird of temperate and Mediterranean forests, so it is absent in Scandinavia, Ireland and the north of the British Isles. Birds from the northeast of its range are migratory and winter south to the Mediterranean, pushing east to Anatolia via the Bosphorus and, perhaps, Morocco via Gibraltar.
Threats - protection
IUCN conservation status
in the Wild
The species is common and not threatened.
Sources of information
- IOC World Bird List (v13.2), Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2023.
- Les passereaux d'Europe, tome 2, P. Géroudet, M. Cuisin
- Avibase, Lepage Denis
- Birds of the World, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- xeno-canto, Sharing bird sounds from around the world,
Translation by AI Oiseaux.net
published: 14-12-2020 - Updated: 14-12-2020
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