Found in Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico, the verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) is a tiny songbird that lives in desert scrub wherever there is thorny, dense vegetation.
Verdins have grey bodies, darker grey on the upper parts and lighter grey beneath. Their faces are yellow, their shoulders are chestnut and their beaks are small and sharply pointed. Males and females look similar.
Verdins eat insects and spiders. An acrobatic bird, verdins easily move through heavy foliage in search of prey. They can hang upside down while foraging and hold their larger prey under a foot while tearing it apart.
Non-migratory, verdins construct two types of nests throughout the year – breeding nests and roosting nests. The male verdin builds a ball of tightly woven twigs with an entrance near the bottom. The female lines the nest. Summer nests are open to the prevailing wind, presumably for cooling. The roosting nests help verdins keep warm in the winter. Winter nests have thicker lining than the summer nests. It has been estimated that a heavily insulated nest can reduce the energy a verdin needs for thermoregulation by 50%. When not around the nest, a verdin is solitary.
These verdin were photographed in different locations near Green Valley AZ.