Black Redstart

Black Redstart

Scientific name: Phoenicurus ochruros

Did you know: Black Redstarts are skilled urban survivors, thriving in city landscapes where other species may struggle?

What Do Black Redstarts Look Like? (how to identify them)

Black Redstarts captivate with their sleek black and fiery red plumage. Males are particularly striking, featuring a deep grey to black body contrasted by a vibrant red tail and rump, which they proudly display. 

Females and juveniles are more subdued with grey-brown tones but share the characteristic red tail that makes these birds so identifiable.

Differences Between Male and Female Black Redstarts

Male Black Redstarts boast darker, almost black bodies with a distinctive red tail, making them a standout during the breeding season. 

In contrast, females wear a more conservative grey-brown plumage, which still includes the iconic red tail but is less vivid compared to their male counterparts.

What Do Black Redstarts Eat?

These birds are insectivorous, mainly feeding on insects like spiders and worms. 

During colder months, they diversify their diet with berries and seeds to supplement their nutrition, showcasing their adaptability to different environments.

Where Do Black Redstarts Live? (inc. migration info)

Originally mountain dwellers, Black Redstarts have since adapted to urban settings, often seen flitting around buildings and industrial areas. 

In the UK, they are mostly migratory, arriving in late autumn and wintering over before returning to central Europe and Asia in early spring. Their presence in urban areas during migration highlights their remarkable adaptability.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Black Redstarts)

The male Black Redstart’s song is as captivating as his appearance. From high vantage points in the urban jungle, he delivers a complex melody of melodic whistles and unusual grinding noises, like gravel underfoot. 

These songs serve more than beauty—they are crucial in mate attraction and territorial claims.

Fun Black Redstart Facts (kid-friendly)

  • They sometimes catch flying insects right out of the air!
  • Black Redstarts are one of the few bird species that have adapted well to living in cities.
  • Their red tail isn’t just for show—it helps in communication and mating.
  • With fewer than 100 breeding pairs in the UK, spotting one is a special treat!
  • Each male has his own unique song, which he uses to woo females.
  • They migrate hundreds of miles between their breeding and wintering grounds.

Black Redstart Video

Facts About The Black Redstart

Diet: They eat insects (including spiders and worms) as well as berries and seeds.
Bird Family: Chats
Length: 14cm
Wingspan: 22 - 26cm
Weight: 13 - 20g
Scientific Name: Phoenicurus ochruros

The Black Redstart Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

Black Redstart Images

Male Black Redstart Male
Female Black Redstart Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile