- Phoenicurus phoenicurus
14 cm (5½ in)
Rufous tail and rump
- Grey upperparts
- White forehead
- Black face
Female and Immature
- Upperparts greyish brown
- Weak pale eyering
- Buffy underparts
The males are generally unmistakable, but the females are easily confused with several other species in the genus, notably Moussier's Redstart, which is marginally smaller and shorter tailed.
Female Black Redstarts are darker and duller grey; even the dullest female Common Redstarts have a pale throat and hints of orange in their underparts, unlike Black Redstarts.
Female Rufous-backed Redstart is slightly larger and with pale fringes on its wing feathers, while female Daurian Redstart is more easily distinguished by its white wing patch.
Males of the southern subspecies P. p. samamiscus could possibly be confused with male Daurian Redstarts, but that species has a solid pure white wing patch, not just white fringes.
On the winter quarters, Little Rock Thrush can be confused (see this Birdforum thread for discussion).
In Europe, the nominate subspecies P. p. phoenicurus breeds over much of Britain (except parts of eastern England), rarely in Ireland, and from north and central Spain and France north to most of Scandinavia (except extreme north coast), and east through western Asia to the Lake Baikal area of Russia. Present in a few scattered sites in northwest Africa.
A summer visitor to Europe and Asia, arriving in April-May and departing from late August with some still on passage in October. Passage birds occur throughout North Africa and the Middle East, winters in sub-Saharan Africa.
There are two subspecies:
- P. p. phoenicurus:
- P. p. samamisicus: Ehrenberg's Redstart: Differs in having broad white fringes on the tertials and secondaries in the male - plus narrow white fringes on the primaries when not worn, giving a pale wing panel.
Mainly deciduous or mixed woodland, fairly open, with old trees to provide nest-holes. In some areas also in coniferous woodland, heathland and scrubby areas with scattered large trees. Sometimes in parks and large gardens, occurs in upland areas up to 2000m.
The clutch consists of 5-6 light blue eggs.
The diet includes insects which are aerially hawked. Berries, worms and spiders are also taken.
- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
- Collins Field Guide 5th Edition
- Birdwatchers Pocket Guide ISBN 1-85732-804-3
- BirdForum Opus contributors. (2021) Common Redstart. In: BirdForum, the forum for wild birds and birding. Retrieved 14 June 2021 from https://www.birdforum.net/wiki/Common_Redstart