White-throated Redstart

White-throated Redstart
White-throated Redstart Phoenicurus schisticeps, male, Sichuan, China, elev. 3470 m (11,380 ft.), August. (Craig Brelsford)

White-throated Redstart Phoenicurus schisticeps ranges central Himalayas to Tibetan Plateau and central Chinese mountains, from eastern Tibet and northwest Yunnan north to southeast Qinghai and south Shaanxi. HABITAT Breeds below timberline in thick scrub and park-like open conifer forests between 2400–4200 m (7,870-13,780 ft.). Winters in similar habitats, to 1400 m (4,590 ft.). ID & COMPARISON Both sexes have long white band on wings from lesser to greater coverts, extending to white fringes on tertials, white patch on lower throat, and rufous rump. Male has slaty-blue crown and nape; black face, mantle, and upper back; and black chin and black upper throat and sides of throat. Rufous patch on lower scapulars, matching rufous rump and underparts; upper scapulars match rest of black wing. Lower belly white; vent, under- and uppertail coverts rufous; tail black. Female has mainly brown plumage (more buffish-grey on breast and belly) like other female redstarts but is readily distinguishable by throat patch and wing pattern. Folded tail mainly brown but base of outer tail rufous; conspicuous whitish eye-ring. Juvenile like female but heavily mottled buff and has rufous-buff tips to greater coverts and fringes to tertials. BARE PARTS Bill, feet black. VOICE Song a series of quiet whistles and trills. Harsh, rattling call; often preceded by thin, drawn-out tsiee. — Craig Brelsford


shanghaibirding.com 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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