With a body length of around 9 cm and a weight between 4 and 7 grams, the Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) is the smallest bird of Europe! Having said that, the closely-related Common Firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla) is also that small and they actually share the honour. Both species look similar, but the firecrest has a black stripe across the eye which is lacking in the present species. Goldcrests occur in most parts of Europe as well as in a belt through Asia up to Japan. Within this range, they are closely linked to coniferous forests as their habitats. Their nests are also built in conifers, but consist of the silk of cocoons from spiders and caterpillars. This way, the nests are so well isolated that the parents can leave their eggs alone for a long time even during cold days. The little birds feed almost exclusively on small arthropods (insects etc.) found mostly on the underside of twigs. Each day they take up at least as much as their own body weight! Characteristic is a common hopping and flittering among the branches – unfortunately making photography not easier… I have taken the photographs in this post during April 2015 in northern Germany. For a closer look, you can click on the pictures (as always).