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American Redstart, Setophaga ruticilla

Male American Redstart

American Redstart

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Parulidae
Genus: Setophaga
Swainson, 1827
Species: S. ruticilla
Binomial name
Setophaga ruticilla
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The American Redstart, Setophaga ruticilla, is a New World warbler. They breed in North America, across southern Canada and the eastern USA.

These birds are migratory, wintering in Central America, the West Indies, and northern South America. They are very rare vagrants to western Europe.

This species is unrelated to the Old World redstarts. This species derives its name from the male's red tail, start being an old word for tail.

The American Redstart is 12 cm long and weighs 8.5 g. The breeding males are unmistakable, jet black above apart from large orange-red patches on their wings and tails. Their breast sides are also orange, with the rest of their underparts colored white.

In their other plumages, American Redstarts display green in their upperparts, along with black central tails and grey heads. The orange patches of the breeding males are replaced by yellow in the plumages of the females and young birds.

The breeding habitats of these birds are open woodlands or scrub. These habitats are often located near water. These birds nest in a low are of a bush, laying 2-5 eggs in a neat cup-shaped nest.

These birds feed on insects which are usually caught by flycatching. American Redstarts also have been known to catch their insect prey by gleaning it from leaves. This is a very active species. The tail is often held partly fanned out.

Their songs is a series of musical see notes. Their call is a soft chip.


* BirdLife International (2004). Setophaga ruticilla. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
* Curson, Quinn and Beadle,New World Warblers ISBN 0-7136-3932-6
* Stiles and Skutch, A guide to the birds of Costa Rica’’ ISBN 0-8014-9600-4

External links

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