critter's picture

Young Goldcrest

Observed: 15th October 2012 By: crittercritter’s reputation in Birdscritter’s reputation in Birdscritter’s reputation in Birds

Juvenile from this year, was visibly smaller than a Wren that was close by...amazing.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


ophrys's picture

Little king

Super things, aren't they!

I am interested to know why you say it is a juvenile. Are you basing that on the tail feathers? I find it difficult enough to do even in the hand, though the tips do look rather pointed, perhaps?


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critter's picture

Educated guess

Was 1/3'rd smaller in comparison to the rest of the flock (8-10 individuals) and his feathers were more downy in appearance. He was a lot more inquisitive than the others, at one point he perched on the foam grips of my tripod, no more than 8 inches from me ! Have a rear view of him with the starting's of his red head flash. But basically an educated guess.

ophrys's picture


Size can be very difficult to judge on birds like this. In reality, all Goldcrests differ very little in size, just the odd millimetre or three between them, in terms of wing length. Passerine birds like these are full grown after just a few weeks, so size does not have any bearing on age at all at this time of year. I catch and ring a lot of these in a local wood, and I find ageing them tricky, but as you'll have gathered from David's and my comment, it is all down to the tips of the tail feathers...pointed in a bird born this year, rounded in an adult.

The crown flash is yellow in females, and yellow with orange beneath in males. That too requires a bit of feather ruffling to be certain, often!

Anyway, well done on a great picture!


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critter's picture

Age reply

I bow to your knowledge on the subject.

David Jardine's picture

Super photo!

It is really sharp and let you see the pointed tail feathers, confirming it is a bird raised this year

Tamsin's picture

gorgeous photo

May I ask what camera you are using? I am saving up for a digital SLR but am generally baffled by the choices.


critter's picture


I use a Nikon D90 for most of my wildlife shots, the lens is a Nikkor 300mm f/4.

Used this combination for over 4 years now and very at home with it. To get decent bird shots you would need to get within 25-30 foot to be honest but waiting time can be fun. Camo gear, ipod (music) flask for coffee are your friends.

Recently bought a Pentax K5 for macro photography as it has anti shake built into the camera not the lens which lets me take macro shots using older pentax lenses which can be picked up a lot cheaper.

Go for the best you can afford, spend more on the lens you don't need fancy camera for bird shots.