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Common Redstart – Phoenicurus phoenicurus – il-Kudirross

Common Redstart – Phoenicurus phoenicurus – il-Kudirross

The common redstart is a small migratory bird which prefers woods and trees in valleys. One can meet this bird at Chadwick Lakes during its visits to our islands during the months of autumn, from September to November, and in spring from March to May.

The common redstart is the same size as the robin, though slightly slimmer and not as heavily built. It is from 13 to 14.5 cm long and weighs 11 to 23 g, with a conspicuous red tail, which very often one can see quivering.

In spring the male has a slate-grey head and upper parts. The side of the face and its throat are black, while the forehead is white. It has a black bill and black legs. The tail, the sides of the body, the underwing feathers are orange-chestnut.

On the other hand, the female is drab grey-brown, with paler underparts, lacking the black and slate grey, but having a whitish throat. However, it still has the orange-chestnut tail.

The common redstart likes to perch in an upright position, showings its distinctive habit of shivering its bright orangey tail. It can often be seen flying or suddenly leaping after passing flying insects, which make up most of its food. But it also take insects, caterpillars, worms and also berries from among foliage or from the ground.

Its song can sometimes be mistaken for that of the Robin, but it is only a short introduction.

Another bird which also has a similarly orangey-coloured tail is the black redstart which should not be mistaken for the common redstart.

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