The goldcrest is the smallest European bird at just 31/2 inches (90mm) in length, just a fraction smaller than a wren. Their most noticeable and identifying feature are the colourful stripes along the crest of their heads, hence the name goldcrest. Both male and female have a yellow central bar flanked on either side by a black bar, but the males central stripe is more orangy red (this can be clearly seen in the top picture). Normally this orange bar is narrow but when it wants to frighten off an intruder it opens it up and flashes the bright orange. In this case the intruder was me as I was lucky enough to have them nesting in a conifer bush in my garden and I was taking pictures of them feeding their chicks. I would just point out that I was keeping a good distance from them and using a long lens. The male in the picture was actually about twenty five feet away perched on a power line.
Their normal habitat is woods, copses and fir trees. They make a basket like nest with an entrance hole made of moss, hair, lichen and spiders web which is skillfully woven together and lined with feathers. The nest is hung from the branch of a tree or bush. Inside will be laid between seven and ten eggs which are white with faint red-brown flecks in April to June. Their call is a quiet high tinkling sound like a fairy bell which sound like 'si si si'.
Female goldcrest feeding on a fat and peanut mix from my trunk feeder.
Goldcrest with bill full of insects to feed chicks.