British wildlife recordings
Phoenicurus phoenicurus : Common Redstart - Turdidae
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Old Dean Common, Camberley, Surrey: OS Grid Reference(488500,160500)
Williams, Aubrey John
Redstart, Phoenicurus phoenicurus
A call made by a redstart recorded on Old Dean Common, Surrey. Undoubtedly the Redstart is one of our most handsome birds. The male possesses a vivid rust red tail and chest, black face, dark wings and slate grey back. Although the female differs in having brown upperparts and pale underparts, it similarly exhibits a rusty red tail, or start'. The male uses its tail in courtship rituals, by fanning and flicking it in front of potential mates. The Redstart is a restless thrush, flitting and darting around deciduous woods and parkland searching for insects, spiders, small worms and occasionally berries. It is often seen hovering mid-air, snatching morsels that fly nearby. The nest is located in tree-holes and is fashioned from bark-strips, grass and moss. The usual clutch of six eggs is incubated by the hen. Both parents raise two broods. Redstarts are summer visitors, staying in the UK from April to September. They breed in mature woodland, particularly the sessile oakwoods and pinewoods of western England, Wales and Scotland. They are seldom seen in Ireland. The current breeding status fluctuates between 90,000 - 330,000 pairs.