Redwing

Scientific name: Turdus iliacus

Did you know: Redwings can detect fruit using ultraviolet vision, making berries appear more appealing due to their UV-reflective waxy coatings.

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

Redwings, the UK’s smallest thrush species, are notable for their creamy-white chests adorned with dark brown marks. They boast striking red and orange underwings and a creamy-white mark above the eye, setting them apart from similar species like fieldfares. These birds measure about 21 cm in length, with a wingspan stretching up to 35cm.

Differences Between Male And Female Redwings

Males and females of the Redwing species are remarkably similar in appearance. Both genders display the same characteristic brown backs, white underparts with dark spots, and the distinctive red flanks and underwing. Even their size and weight are comparable, making it challenging to distinguish between them based on physical features alone.

What Do Redwings Eat?

Redwings primarily feed on a variety of berries such as those from rowan and hawthorn trees, and also feast on worms. In times of food scarcity, they adapt by visiting orchards and gardens, showing a particular fondness for apples. This diet is especially crucial during their winter stay in the UK.

Where Do Redwings Live? (inc. migration info)

Redwings are widespread across the UK in open country, fields, and hedgerows, but they also visit gardens and parks in severe weather conditions. Originating from Europe and the Palearctic, these birds migrate at night from regions like the Faroes, Iceland, and Scandinavia to spend winters in the UK, typically from October to April.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Redwings)

The Redwing’s song is a short, varied melody, complemented by a whistling flight call. They exhibit distinct dialectic variations in their songs, often sharing similar song patterns within local populations. The song typically starts with introductory elements, which can vary in frequency and tone, followed by a complex and fast pattern.

Fun Redwing Facts (kid-friendly)

  • Redwings use ultraviolet vision to find berries.
  • They are the UK’s smallest true thrush.
  • Some Redwings breed in the UK, but most migrate from Iceland and Scandinavia.
  • Redwings can form loose flocks of up to 200 birds.
  • They have a unique ‘tsee’ call heard during night migration.
  • Redwings show dialectic variations in their song.
  • They often feed alongside fieldfares and common blackbirds.
  • The red colouration on their flanks and underwing is their most distinctive feature.
  • Redwings are protected under UK law.
  • They have a lifespan of about 2 years.

Redwing 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 Redwing

Diet: Berries and worms.
Bird Family: Thrushes
Length: 21cm
Wingspan: 33-35cm
Weight: 50-75g
Scientific Name: Turdus iliacus

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

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