Phoenicurus phoenicurus


An elegant, robin-sized chat, the redstart is a summer visitor, arriving here in April and leaving in September. It feeds on insects, especially butterfly and beetle larvae and can be seen foraging in woodlands, hedgerows, parks and beside streams. Redstarts have an upright stance and can be seen 'bobbing', moving in a similar fashion to robins. They spend most of their time in the trees.

How to identify

Males are grey above with a red breast, black throat, long, black legs and a long, red tail. The similar black redstart is a very rare nesting bird in city centres and industrial areas, although more common on migration when it can turn up in similar places to the redstart. The male black redstart is a dark, sooty grey, with a pale wing patch and red rump and tail.

Where to find it

Widespread, although rare or absent from eastern and central England. Can turn up anywhere during migration.


When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September

How can people help

Redstarts are under threat from habitats loss and fragmentation. The Wildlife Trusts manage woodland nature reserves sympathetically for many bird species. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting, ride maintenance and non-intervention all help woodland wildlife to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for The Wildlife Trusts and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to raising awareness about birds.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Thrushes, chats, flycatchers, starling, dipper and wren
Length: 14cm Wingspan: 22cm Weight: 15g Average Lifespan: 2 years
Conservation status
Classified in the UK as an Amber List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern review.