Common Redstart

The range of the mainly Western Palearctic Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus extends into western and northern Xinjiang (phoenicurus). More tied to woodland than Black Redstart P. ochruros. Male has white band above forehead (extending into a supercilium) and is bluish-grey from crown to back and wing coverts. Blackish-brown flight feathers with grey fringing. Face (including forehead), chin, and throat sooty black; breast and underparts orange-red, shading to buffy-white on belly. Rump and tail rufous, central tail feathers black. Female like female Black Redstart but warmer brown above and has distinctly paler throat and warmer rufous-orange lower breast and central belly. Distinguished from female Blue-capped Redstart P. coeruleocephala and Eversmann’s Redstart P. erythronotus by lack of wingbars and from Hodgson’s Redstart P. hodgsoni by warmer rufous-orange breast and paler buffish-white vent and undertail coverts. BARE PARTS Bill, feet black. VOICE Song strong and liquid, sweeter and less buzzy than Black Redstart. Usually starts with single clear note, followed by several on a lower pitch, and ends with dry warble. Alarm call a distinct huit, often combined with a liquid tick-tick-tick. — Craig Brelsford

THE TRUE REDSTARTS OF CHINA covers all 12 members of Phoenicurus in China. Click any link below:

Przevalski’s Redstart Phoenicurus alaschanicus
Eversmann’s Redstart P. erythronotus
Blue-capped Redstart P. coeruleocephala
Black Redstart P. ochruros
Common Redstart P. phoenicurus
Hodgson’s Redstart P. hodgsoni
White-throated Redstart P. schisticeps
Daurian Redstart P. auroreus
Güldenstädt’s Redstart P. erythrogastrus
Blue-fronted Redstart P. frontalis
Plumbeous Water Redstart P. fuliginosus
White-capped Redstart P. leucocephalus


Daniel Bengtsson served as chief ornithological consultant for Craig Brelsford’s Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of China, from which this species description is drawn.

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