Black redstart

Black redstart
Phoenicurus ochruros
Photo by Henrique Pires (Flickr)

Common name:

Order Passeriformes
Family Muscicapidae

This species is widespread in southern and central Europe, Asia and northern Africa, being found from Great Britain, southern Sweden and southern Russia, south to Morocco and east to central China.

These birds are 13-15 cm long and have a wingspan of 26 cm. They weigh 12-20 g.


The black redstart inhabits open, sparsely vegetated rocky terrain, including crags, cliffs and gullies, typically in hills and mountains. They are also found in scrublands and marine coastal areas and it adapted to live in industrial and urban areas, being commonly found in villages, towns and cities. They are typically found from sea level up to an altitude of 2.500 m, but sometimes occur at altitudes of up to 5.200 m in the Himalayas.

These birds mostly eat spiders, worms, snail and various insects, but will also eat seeds, ruits and berries, especially in autumn.

Black redstarts breed in April-July. The female builds a loose nest of dry grass, leaves and moss which is lined with hair, wool and feathers. The nest is placed in a hole, cavity, crevice or ledge among rocks or buildings. There she lays 4-6 white or light blue eggs, which she incubates alone for 12-17 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 12-19 days after hatching. Each pair raises 1-2 broods per year.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and a global population estimated at 25-100 million individuals. The population tend in Europe is stable and the overall population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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