I've recently (Steptember 2022) found this little guy in Frankfurt (Germany) in the morning. It could have fitted in my hand. It was staying very clam on the ground so I could go really close and take this photo with my smartphone.

I want to put it on Wikipedia. Can somebody help me to identify it?

enter image description here

enter image description here

I tried google image search and I think it might be Regulus ignicapilla (image / other image) or Regulus regulus?

edit: In case somebody is curious:

  • $\begingroup$ Smallest bird along with Goldcrest. Reckon thats Firecrest $\endgroup$
    – BBM56
    Sep 25, 2022 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


This is a common firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla) because of it's "three" black lines* on the head, especially the one that is passing on the eyes and its pale (almost white) and well marked eyebrow.

*In french, we call it "Roitelet à triple bandeau" because of that. Its german name is Sommergoldhähnchen.

Facts The Common Firecrest only occurs in the western Palaearctic. It is a lightweight like the Goldcrest which, however, unlike ist more robust twin species, mostly leaves Switzerland in the winter. It is less bound to spruce forests than the Goldcrest and in addition to coniferous trees also uses deciduous ones. Where forests are damaged, the birds soon have problems: The thinned out branches no longer provide sufficient shelter and the food supply is severely restricted.

Source: https://www.vogelwarte.ch/en/birds/birds-of-switzerland/common-firecrest

Also available in German: https://www.vogelwarte.ch/de/voegel/voegel-der-schweiz/sommergoldhaehnchen

enter image description here

You can also try to differentiate his call from Regulus regulus; it's very subtle but there is one.

Both species appreciate the dark environment of coniferous. Because of their very small weight (5-7g!) they spent most of their time searching for food (mainly insects), especially in winter. It's also this characteristic which actually determines the maximum latitude they can reach; too far north, nights become too long and days too short for them to feed enough during the winter season. (oral communication, Museum of Natural History, city of Geneva).

enter image description here

European distribution of both regulus regulus and regulus ignicapilla.
Source: Le Guide ornitho, 2015. Ed. Delachaux et Niestlé. By Lars Svensson Killian, Mullarneym Dan, Zetterstrom. ISBN 9782603023938.

Meaning of the colors:

  • purple: all year presence,
  • light blue: winter presence,
  • orange: summer presence,
  • pale yellow: during migrations periods.

If you are searching for a nice guide, you can checkout this one: "Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe".
By: Lars Svensson (Author), Killian Mullarney (Illustrator), Dan Zetterström (Illustrator), Peter J Grant (Contributor). ISBN: 9780008547455 Edition: 3, Hardback Nov 2022"


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .