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Plumbeous Water Redstart - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Plumbeous Redstart

Nominate subspecies, Male
Photo © by Alok Tewari
River Shipra, Dist. Nainital, Alt. 4500 ft., Uttarakhand Himalayas, India, 17 April 2015
Phoenicurus fuliginosa

Phoenicurus fuliginosus Rhyacornis fuliginosa


Photo © by jbpixels
Camonet hide, Doi Inthanon National Park, Thailand, January 2020

12-14 cm (4¾-5½ in), 13-23 g. Strong sexual dimorphism
Male: tail, rump, and vent are reddish-rufous, the remainder of the plumage a rich, dark slate-blue.

Female: bases of outer tail feathers, rump, and vent white, remainder of tail black; grey above, pale eye-ring; wings black with white tips; throat, breast, and belly plumage white with dark feather edges, giving a strongly scaled appearance.
Both sexes have black bills, feet brown.

Similar Species

Male has a solid rufous tail, lacking the dark central tail feathers of most other redstart species. Female somewhat resembles Little Forktail, but the latter has a white crown and a white wing-band extending to the back.


Nominate subspecies Juvenile
Photo © Alok Tewari
River Shipra, Dist. Nainital, Uttarakhand Himalayas, Alt. 4500 ft., India, 10 April 2008

Plumbeous redstart is found along Himalayas from Bhutan to Pakistan through Nepal and India, and further west in northeastern Afghanistan. It also occurs in Bangladesh, China, Taiwan, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam; have also been recorded in Russia and central Asia.


Formerly placed in genus Rhyacornis.


Two subspecies are recognised[1]:


Almost exclusively found on fast-flowing alpine streams; an altitudinal migrant from 1000-4300 m. Perches on shrubs near stream, or on boulders in the water.


Usually abundant in suitable habitat. Both sexes flirt the tail often as they move from rock to rock in alpine streams, and territorial displays are frequent. Often found with dippers or White-capped Water-Redstart.


Their diet consists almost entirely of insects, particularly caddis flies and their larvae, mayflies and midges. They often hawk small insects from low perches on stones or shrubs. They will also eat berries and seeds occasionally.


Song: a rapid metallic streee-treee-tree-treeeh, call note a sharp ziet, ziet.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved November 2015)

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