Living Bird Magazine
- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Remizidae
In the heat of desert arroyos and scrublands, tiny grayish Verdins flash bright colors—a yellow head and chestnut shoulder patch. More slender and small-headed than a chickadee, these restless birds comb the foliage of trees for insects and spiders, sometimes hanging upside down to investigate hard-to-reach places. They supplement their insect diet with fruits and even nectar, which they may sip from hummingbird feeders. Verdins build unusual spherical nests, often making several per year and using them for roosting throughout the year.More ID Info
Find This Bird
This bird of hot, dry country is active during the early morning and often becomes quiet and still in the heat of midday. Verdins’ pale plumage often blends well with its arid, pale surroundings, so knowing its song and calls will help you zero in on these tiny birds.
- Pájaro Moscón Baloncito (Spanish)
- Auripare verdin (French)
Verdins sometimes visit hummingbird feeders and flowering shrubs.
- Cool Facts
- The Verdin is the only bird in the genus Auriparus. Although it resembles members of the chickadee family (Paridae) superficially, it’s in a different family altogether—the only representative of the Old World family Remizidae in all of North America.
- The Verdin builds nests for both breeding and roosting; roosting nests are much smaller. The outer stick shell is constructed mostly by the male, while the female does most of the lining.
- The Verdin's roosting nests help it stay warm in winter. These nests have thick insulation and may reduce the energy required to stay warm by as much as 50%. Nests built in summer open toward prevailing winds, perhaps to aid in cooling.
- The Verdin builds roosting nests all year round. One pair of Verdins in Arizona was observed building 11 nests in one year.
- The oldest recorded Verdin was at least 5 years, 7 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations.