Breeding Bird Atlas 2 Species Accounts
- Very local, trend not established
Most of the time, the brilliant scarlet feathers that give Ruby-crowned Kinglets their name are concealed beneath a cover of dull greenish gray. When the male is alarmed by an intruder or wishes to attract a female, he will pull back the feathers that hide his splendid crown from view and display it for all to see. It’s not hard to catch a glimpse of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet during spring or fall migration, but finding a breeding individual in Massachusetts is much more difficult.
Historic StatusMassachusetts has long known the Ruby-crowned Kinglet, or the Ruby-crowned Wren as it was formerly called, as a definite migrant, the rarest of winter lingerers, and a breeder of more northern lands. “They can but rarely be detected here in winter,” wrote Henry Davis Minot, “since they commonly spend that season in the indefinite ‘South.’” (Minot 1877) Their nesting habitats remained mysterious well into the nineteenth century, as Minot observed. “It is astonishing,” he wrote, “under existing circumstances that neither nest nor egg of the Ruby-crowned ‘Wrens’ has been discovered, or at least described. It is probable, and on their account it is to be hoped, that they may long continue to rear their young in happiness and peace, undisturbed by naturalists, in the immense forests of the north,” (Minot 1877). On three July occasions between 1915 and 1932, adults with fledglings were found in Savoy, begging the question of whether historical breeding might have been overlooked in deep forest locations (Bagg & Eliot 1937).
Atlas 1 DistributionGiven the limited number of well-documented historical breeding records of this species for the state, it stands to reason that the Commonwealth’s only Confirmed Ruby-crowned Kinglet breeding record in Atlas 1 came from the Berkshire Highlands near Savoy. Another record of Probable breeding near the Vermont border suggested additional breeding in Massachusetts. The Coastal Plains record, a lone singing male, never managed to attract a mate to his low-elevation coastal territory.
Atlas 2 Distribution and ChangeOne of the most rarely encountered breeding birds in the state, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet stayed steady at 1 breeding Confirmation, but appeared to be showing a slight increase in encounters during the breeding season. The Worcester Plateau, the Vermont Piedmont, and the Berkshire Highlands all showed some small new presence of potentially breeding kinglets.
Atlas 1 Map
Atlas 2 Map
Atlas Change Map
|Atlas 1||Atlas 2||Change|
|Ecoregion||# Blocks||% Blocks||% of Range||# Blocks||% Blocks||% of Range||Change in # Blocks||Change in % Blocks|
|Marble Valleys/Housatonic Valley||0||0.0||0.0||0||0.0||0.0||0||0.0|
|Lower Berkshire Hills||0||0.0||0.0||1||3.2||10.0||1||3.7|
|Connecticut River Valley||0||0.0||0.0||0||0.0||0.0||0||0.0|
|Lower Worcester Plateau||0||0.0||0.0||2||2.5||20.0||2||3.7|
|S. New England Coastal Plains and Hills||1||0.4||33.3||1||0.4||10.0||0||0.0|
|Bristol and Narragansett Lowlands||0||0.0||0.0||0||0.0||0.0||0||0.0|
|Cape Cod and Islands||0||0.0||0.0||0||0.0||0.0||0||0.0|