The Great Commonwealth Bird Fight: Round 1 – Flyweight


Steph Jones over at Zoologist Jones recently challenged me, and the rest of merry old  England, to an Australia vs. England avian showdown. The idea is that hopefully we will be able to highlight some of our representative nation’s greatest bird species, as well as adding a little fuel to the commonwealth rivalry fire. So, first up in the pom’s corner representing the flyweight division (0-5 grams), we have the fabulous firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla)!

Male Firecrest – Photo Credit: Isidro Vila Verde / Scottish Wildlife Trust

Tiny But Tough

Weighing in at approximately 5 grams (for comparison, a good old British two-pence piece only weighs 7 grams), this tiny passerine and its much more common cousin the goldcrest (Regulus regulus), are the smallest birds in England. With grey-green feathers on top and a pale underbelly, they both also feature a prominent yellow-orange stripe on the top of their heads that the male uses this to impress the ladies when spring comes around.

They tend to reside in broadleaf and conifer forests and they use their thin beak to feed on tiny insects and spiders. They also have the impressive ability of catching flying insects whilst hovering and have also been known to pinch trapped insects from spider webs!

Male Goldcrest – Photo Credit: David Whitaker / Scotland’s Nature

Avian Royalty

According to Eurpoean folklore, the lovely little wren may well be the the king of the birds, but this regal title may actually belong to either the goldcrest or the firecrest, as the fabled story to which the title”king of birds” refers, tells of a tiny bird with a “fiery crown”!

So, there we have it. England’s firecrest versus Australia’s brown gerygone? Which little bird leaves the biggest mark? It’s up to you to decide!

— Featured Image is Male Firecrest – Photo Credit: Dave Kjaer —

5 thoughts on “The Great Commonwealth Bird Fight: Round 1 – Flyweight

    1. Firecrest gets my vote… It needs a win. The Blackburn Aircraft company designed a plane during WW2 and named it the Firecrest….it was so bad at flying that they scrapped both prototypes and the name was list to history.

      GO FIRECREST!!!!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Firecrest for me, it’s small and beautiful, just like Britain! Can you give us some tips on how to encourage these gorgeous birds to visit our suburban garden?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Moving your garden to the south-east coast is your best chance! Goldcrest are much more widely spread and may be attracted to gardens that are adjacent to conifers, but otherwise you might be waiting for a while!


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