The Goldcrest is the smallest bird in the UK, just 9cm in length, and weighs approximately 5.5g, which is the equivalent of a twenty pence coin. If not for the fiery orange stripe along its head, the Goldcrest would be a somewhat mute-looking bird, with nothing more than a dull greyish-green plumage with which to advertise its appearance. How interesting it is to see that a single stripe along the crown of a bird can add so much character.
The difference between males and females is hardly noticeable, even negligible, yet the most distinctive difference is the crown of the male Goldcrest, which has a tendency to become more prominent during mating displays. The male will bow its head and raise its coloured crest in a bid to attract a female mate during the breeding season.
Goldcrests are resident in the UK all year round and can be observed meandering among pine forests (the best place to spot one), and occasionally in gardens over winter; take note, they favour spruce, fir and pine. Outside the UK, they are also famed mountain dwellers, seeking respite in mountain coniferous woodland as high as 3,000m (9,800ft). Look towards grandiose facets of nature, dizzying territory such as the Himalayas, and you’ll find the Goldcrest; venture further east across the Sea of Japan, and they’ll be there too.