Redstart

Scientific name: Phoenicurus phoenicurus

Did you know: The Redstart’s name originates from its vivid red tail – ‘start’ is an old term for ‘tail’!

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

Redstarts are a visual treat with their vibrant orange and red tails, often seen quivering. The males boast slate grey-coloured upper bodies, black faces and wings, and orange chest and rump. Presenting a striking appearance. 

Females and juveniles are predominantly browner with chestnut-coloured feathers on their tails and paler bellies. Their ‘bobbing’ behaviour is reminiscent of Robins, though they seldom venture to ground level.

Differences Between Male And Female Redstarts

The male Redstarts are distinctly more vibrant red breasts and tail feathers with grey backs, contrasted by black-coloured faces and throats. Females, while more subdued in colour, share the red tail feature, setting them apart from other species.

What Do Redstarts Eat?

These charming birds primarily feast on insects, including caterpillars and larvae, but also enjoy worms, spiders, and occasionally berries. This varied diet is reflective of their adaptable nature.

Where Do Redstarts Live? (inc. migration info)

Redstarts have a strong preference for mature oak woodlands and occasionally hedgerows in the western UK. These temperate rainforest birds thrive in the wet and mild coastal woodland conditions. They are summer visitors, migrating from the central parts of Africa to the United Kingdom between April and September.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Redstarts)

Redstarts are known for their soft, melancholy songs, consisting of strophes that last 1-2 seconds. Their calls, varying across their range, are a delightful part of their presence in our woodlands and parks.

Fun Redstart Facts (kid friendly)

  • Redstarts ‘shiver’ their red tails.
  • They weigh only about 15 grams – like 3 grapes!
  • Redstarts are summer visitors, migrating from central Africa to the UK.
  • Their diet includes insects, caterpillars, spiders, and sometimes berries.
  • The male Redstart has a black face and throat with a red breast and tail.

Redstart Images

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Male
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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

Facts About The Redstart

Diet: Mainly insects; also spiders, worms and berries.
Bird Family: Chats
Length: 14cm
Wingspan: 20-24cm
Weight: 11-19g
Scientific Name: Phoenicurus phoenicurus

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

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October