Taiwan Flamecrest

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Common Name: Taiwan Firecrest
Scientific Name: Regulus goodfellowi

Size: 3.6 inches (9 cm)

Habitat: Asia; endemic to the mountains of the island of Taiwan.

It usually inhabits evergreen trees in coniferous forests over 2,000 m above sea level, though it is commonest above 2,500 m and ranges upward to 3,700 m. Mountains it inhabits include Alishan, Tayuling, Hehuanshan, Yu Shan, and the higher areas of Anmashan. They prefer conifers in which to forage, and are usually found in the forest canopy, but will sometimes venture into lower vegetation.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: Unknown amount of mature individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

Diet: Feeds primarily on insects, their larvae and eggs. They will occasionally consume seeds and berries. Firecrests are active and restless birds, hopping and fluttering about in the canopy. These lively songbirds are mainly solitary but will move around actively in small, loose flocks of their own species as well as Coal Tits and Eurasian Nuthatches. The flight is weak and whirring.

Breeding: The most distinguishing characteristic is the orange-yellow crest on top of the male’s head, for which this bird is named. When excited the male erects this crest. In females the top of the head is pure yellow with black crown stripes, while in males the top of the head is yellow with an orange center with the black crown stripes. White feathers encircle the black eye-patches, giving it the appearance of having two black eyes. The supercilium is very broad and the lores and forehead are whitish. There is a narrow, short black malar stripe. The chin is whitish and the throat, ear-coverts and sides of neck are grey. The mantle is green while the rump and flanks are yellow. The Centre of the belly is buff. The wings have broad white covert tips forming a wing bar. The tarsi are pinkish. Their breeding biology lacks significant research. It is assumed they have breeding habitats similar to kinglets.

Kinglet nests are small, very neat cups, almost spherical in shape, made of moss and lichen held together with spider webs and hung from twigs near the end of a high branch of a conifer. They are lined with hair and feathers, and a few feathers are placed over the opening. These characteristics provide good insulation against the cold environment. The female lays 7 to 12 eggs, which are white or pale buff, some having fine dark brown spots. Because the nest is small, they are stacked in layers. The female incubates; she pushes her legs (which are well supplied with blood vessels, hence warm) down among the eggs. The eggs hatch after 15 to 17 days. The young stay in the nest for 19 to 24 days. After being fed, nestlings make their way down to the bottom of the nest, pushing their still-hungry siblings up to be fed in their turn (but also to be cold).

Cool Facts: The Taiwan Firecrest is only 9 cm (3.6 in) in length and 7 grams in weight, making it is the smallest of all Taiwan's endemic bird species. Its plumage is the most vibrant in its family. It is also known as the Taiwan Flamecrest, Firecrest Kinglet, Formosan Fire and the Formosan Goldcrest.

They have a high pitched see-see-see call and the song consists of a series of high notes

Found in Songbird ReMix Cool 'n' Unusual Birds 3

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