Madeira Firecrest Regulus madeirensis Harcourt, 1851

Order: Passeriformes Family: Regulidae Status: Breeding in Madeira

Recommended birdwatching tours to watch this bird

Half-day birdwatching
Full-day birdwatching

Madeira Firecrest Field ID Keys

Shape & Size

Very small, roundish bird.

Madeira Firecrest Regulus madeirensis

Colour Pattern

This endemic species of Madeira is easily identified by its orange crown stripe. It has a dark face with a white supercilium stripe that does not extend beyond the eye and a white contour line below the eye. It has grey-yellow upper parts with a white patch on the wings and whitish underparts.

Madeira Firecrest Regulus madeirensis


This is a bird that never stands still, always jumping or flying from one branch to another in the tree's canopy or bush foliage.


The Madeira Firecrest is found all around the island of Madeira, above 400 meters of altitude, but not on any other island of the archipelago.
It is normally observed at mid-altitude areas with Heather Erica arborea and Erica scoparia or gardens with conifers and lower bushes. The low and mid-altitude Laurel Forest is also a good spot for it and, in the winter, sometimes the Madeira Firecrest is seen on bushes by the north coast.

Distinction from similar species

What mainly distinguishes the Madeira species Regulus madeirensis from its European congenerous Regulus ignicapillus is the shorter white supercilium, longer bill and darker wings. The call is also slightly different.

Regulus madeirensis Biometrics

Wingspan: 13 - 16 cm (Hume, 2002)
Total length: 9 - 10 cm (Svensson et al, 2009)
Weight: 5 - 7 g (Hume, 2002)

Madeira Firecrest Regulus madeirensis

Other Bird Facts

Seasonality in Madeira: All year
Breeding: Builds hanging circular nests in bushes, using spider webs interwoven with small branches or moss.
Diet: Takes tiny insects, spiders and moth eggs from foliage.

The firecrest is the smallest bird of Madeira and Europe. Its differences to the Common Firecrest R. ignicapilla are quite obvious so, in 2003 it was split from a subspecies endemic to Madeira Regulus ignicapillus madeirensis to a full species Regulus madeirensis.
Due to the old records of Firecrest being referred to as the nominate species and after it being split into two full species the first confirmed record of the European Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus to Madeira dates from January 2018.


Madeira local status by Correia-Fagundes et al, 2021: Very common breeding bird
Madeira local status by Romano et al, 2010: Common breeding bird
Madeira local status by Zino et al, 1995: Very Common breeding bird
Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: Least Concern ver 3.1

Name of this species in other languages

Madeiran: Bis-bis
Portuguese: Estrelinha-real-da-Madeira
German: Madeiragoldhähnchen
Dutch: Madeiragoudhaan
Swedish: Madeirakungsfågel
Danish: Madeirafuglekonge
Finish: Madeiranhippiäinen
Spanish: Reyezuelo de Madeira
French: Roitelet de Madère
Italian: Fiorrancino di Madera
Polish: Mysikrólik Maderski
Slovak: Kr√°lik Madeirsk√Ĺ
English synonyms: Madeira Kinglet

Madeira Firecrest Regulus madeirensis

Madeira Firecrest Regulus madeirensis

Madeira Firecrest Regulus madeirensis

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