Golden-crowned Kinglets are tiny, active, strikingly marked olive-green to gray songbirds. Their wings are dark, with two white wing-bars. There is a black smudge below the second wing-bar. Their legs are black and their feet, yellow. Their faces are white with a black stripe through the eye and another at the base of their yellow crests. These bold stripes and the yellow crests are distinctive field marks on both sexes. Crests on males shade to orange-red in the center. Females look like males but lack the orange within the yellow crest.