The goldcrest (Regulus regulus) is not only Britain’s smallest bird, but the smallest in the western Palearctic. It was once known as the golden-crested wren. It is a dull greyish-green with a pale belly and a black and yellow stripe on its head, which has an orange centre in males. Their thin beak is ideally suited for picking insects out from between pine needles.Early ornithologists didn’t believe a bird as tiny as a goldcrest could fly across the North Sea unaided, and it was thought that they rode on the backs of migratory woodcock or short-eared owls. The goldcrest has a North American equivalent, the ruby-crowned kinglet. Though similar in size and habits it’s not as brightly coloured.