American redstart

American redstart
Setophaga ruticilla

Photo by Dan Pancamo (Wikipedia)

Common name:
American redstart (en); mariquita-de-rabo-vermelho (pt); paruline flamboyante (fr); candelita norteña (es); schnäpperwaldsänger (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Parulidae

This species breeds in most of Canada and in the eastern United States, as well as in the northern Midwest of the United States. They migrate south to winter from Mexico down to Peru, Venezuela, the Guyanas and marginally into northern Brazil. They also winter in the Caribbean.

These birds are 11-14 cm long and have a wingspan of 16-19 cm. They weigh 6-9 g.

The American redstart breeds mainly in open-canopy deciduous forests, also using second growths, boreal forests, scrublands, rural gardens and parks within urban areas. Outside the breeding season they are found in tropical scrublands, both moist and dry tropical forests and mangroves. This species is present from sea level up to an altitude of 3.000 m.

They are almost exclusively insectivorous, mainly taking caterpillars, moths, flies, leafhoppers, wasps, beetles, aphids, stoneflies and spiders. Outside the breeding they will occasionally also eat berries and seeds.

American redstarts breed in May-July. They are predominantly monogamous, although some cases of polygamy are known. The nest is a tightly-woven cup, made of grass, roots, feathers, birch bark and hairs. It is placed in a branch against the trunk, or on a fork, in a tree or scrub. There the female lays 2-5 white or cream-coloured eggs with brown speckles, which she incubates alone for 10-13 days. The chicks fledge 9 days after hatching, but remain with one of the parents for up to 3 weeks after fledging.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and the global population is estimated at 23 million individuals. The population has undergone a small decrease over the last 4 decades due to habitat loss in both wintering and breeding areas.

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