Regulus satrapa satrapa

Status:  Uncommon regular winter visitor southeast, rare casual elsewhere.

Documentation:  Specimen: satrapa: UNSM ZM6718, 13 Apr 1901 Lincoln, Lancaster Co.

Taxonomy:  Six subspecies have been recognized, four north of Mexico (Swanson et al 2020): olivaceus, breeding from coastal southeast Alaska to southwest Oregon and wintering coastally from southwest British Columbia to southwest California, apache, breeding and wintering from southern Alaska and southern Yukon south in the Rocky Mountains (Including the Black Hills of South Dakota) to southwest California and Sierra Madre Occidental in northern Mexico, and satrapa, breeding from northern Alberta to Newfoundland and south in mountains to North Carolina and wintering across southern Canada south to Florida and northeast Mexico and west to central Colorado. Phillips (1991) included the Rocky Mountains subspecies amoenus in apache.

Subspecies satrapa has been recorded in Nebraska (Rapp et al 1958), but the northern Rocky Mountains subspecies amoenus probably occurs in migration in the Panhandle (AOU 1957).

Spring:  winter <<<>>> Apr 23, 23, 24

Later dates are 29 Apr 2019 Lancaster Co, 29 Apr 2019 Douglas Co, 29 Apr 2021 Hummel Park, Douglas Co, 30 Apr 2016 Lancaster Co, and 11 May 2001 Dixon Co.

This species winters in southern and eastern Nebraska. There is a discernible increase in numbers in the east in early to mid-Mar, but there are essentially no Mar-Apr records in the north and west, suggesting migration is directly northward in spring, avoiding the extensive grassland in central and western Nebraska. Departure is mostly completed by mid-Apr.

Fall: Sep 29, 30, Oct 1 <<<>>> winter

Earlier dates are 7 Sep 2012 Platte Co, 10 Sep 1990 Sioux Co, and 13 Sep 1911 Dawes Co (specimen, UNSM ZM10546).

Arrival is in early Oct, and numbers are highest in Oct-early Jan. CBC data indicate that by late Dec most birds are in the south and east, although occasionally good numbers are found in the North Platte River Valley; 56 were found on the Lake McConaughy, Keith Co CBC 2 Jan 2000 and 29 on the same CBC 2 Jan 2016.

Winter:  Low numbers winter most years in the south and east (Johnsgard 1980), but in the northwest part of the state, north of the North Platte and Platte River Valleys in the central and Panhandle, there are only about 12 records mid-Jan through Apr: 2-12 Jan 2011 Custer Co, 18 Jan 2021 Antelope Co, 30 Jan  2000 Knox Co, 12 Feb 2016 Howard Co, 14 Feb 2015 Custer Co, 15 Feb 2014 Garden Co, 13 Mar 2011 Custer Co, 21 Mar 2017 Buffalo Co, 21 Mar 2018 Howard Co, 14 Apr 2019 Brown Co, and 17 Apr 2009 Thomas Co.

Rosche (1982) stated in the northwest “very few of the individuals that attempt to winter are apparently successful, as there are only four early January records and two for February” (dates not given).

  • High counts:  83 on the Lincoln, Lancaster Co CBC 18 Dec 2010, 65-70 at Regency Lake, Omaha, Douglas Co 16 Dec 2002, and 56 at Lake Ogallala, Keith Co 2 Jan 2000.

CommentsA report of one recovered 24 Jun 1988 in Lancaster Co that had been banded 11 Nov 1987 at the place of recovery is questionable; a series of similarly unlikely summer banding dates of Rusty Blackbirds in southeast Nebraska is discussed under that species.


CBC: Christmas Bird Count
NNF: Nebraska National Forest
SHP: State Historical Park
UNSM: University of Nebraska State Museum

Literature Cited

American Ornithologists’ Union  [AOU]. 1957. The AOU Check-list of North American birds, 5th ed. Port City Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Johnsgard, P.A. 1980. A preliminary list of the birds of Nebraska and adjacent Great Plains states. Published by the author, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA.

Phillips, A.R. 1991. The known birds of North and Middle America. Part 2.  Published by the author, Denver, Colorado, USA.

Rapp, W.F. Jr., J.L.C. Rapp, H.E. Baumgarten, and R.A. Moser. 1958. Revised checklist of Nebraska birds. Occasional Papers 5.  Nebraska Ornithologists’ Union, Crete, Nebraska, USA.

Rosche, R.C. 1982. Birds of northwestern Nebraska and southwestern South Dakota, an annotated checklist. Cottonwood Press, Crawford, Nebraska, USA.

Swanson, D.L., J.L. Ingold, and R. Galati. 2020. Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (A. F. Poole, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.

Recommended Citation

Silcock, W.R., and J.G. Jorgensen. 2021.  Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa). In Birds of Nebraska — Online.

Birds of Nebraska – Online

Updated 9 Jun 2021