Regulus satrapa satrapa

Status:  Fairly common regular spring and fall migrant statewide. 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 <<<>>> May 13, 14, 15 (southeast), Feb 12, 14, 15 <<<>>> May 13, 14, 15 (elsewhere)

This species winters in southern and eastern Nebraska and therefore it is difficult to discern early migration dates there. In the northwest and north-central, where rare in winter, there are records of five at Ord, Valley Co 7 Mar 2004 and one in Cherry Co 9 Mar 2004 that suggest early northward movement. There is a discernible increase in numbers in early to mid-Mar, with earliest dates in the south, suggesting that birds which wintered in the area or not far to the south begin to move north at that time.

Departure is mostly completed by the first week of May.

Fall: Sep 21, 23, 24 <<<>>> winter (southeast), Sep 21, 23, 24 <<<>>> Jan 4, 4, 4 (elsewhere)

Migrants arrive in late Sep, although there are earlier reports 7 Sep 2012 Platte Co, 10 Sep 1990 Sioux Co, 13 Sep 1911 Dawes Co (specimen, UNSM ZM10546), and 14 Sept 1962 Cass Co. It is difficult to determine fall departure, as numbers gradually decline into winter. 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.

  • 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.

Winter:  Low numbers probably winter most years in the southeast half of the state (Johnsgard 1980), but in the northwest part of the state, north of the North Platte and Platte River Valleys in the Central and Panhandle , midwinter reports (5 Jan-11 Feb) are less-than-annual: two on 17 Jan 2009 NNF Halsey, Thomas Co, 22 Jan 1993 Scotts Bluff Co, and 5 Feb 1993 Sheridan 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).

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. 2020.  Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa). In Birds of Nebraska — Online.

Birds of Nebraska – Online

Updated 29 Mar 2020