Redstart, garden, coot (bird)


The Russian Bird Conservation Union has called the 2015 redstart a bird. The most common and common redstart in our country is (it is also a garden redstart, redstart coot). It is a small, smaller sparrow, a bird of the family of flycatchers with a bright red tail, which it often twitches. As a result, the red spot becomes clearly visible against the gray back and brown wings of the bird and resembles a flare-up ember. Other external signs of this bird are: for males, red is the entire bottom of the body, the sides of the head and throat are black, and the forehead is white (hence the name coot). Females are light brown, darker on top, with brown wings. Young individuals are brown with dark spots. The main identifying mark, the orange-red tail, is present in males, females and young birds.

Common Redstart

The reddish, “burning” tail of the bird became the pretext for its Russian name. The fiery tail was also noted by Karl Linnaeus, who in 1758 described the redstart with the Latin name Phoenicurus phoenicurus, which can be translated as "Phoenix tail". Phoenix, we recall, according to ancient tradition, burned in the fire and revived again, and the Greek word means tail.

In English, the redstart is called redstart. The word start in this case goes back to the Middle English stert and Old English steort "tail". By the word start, meaning "to begin" (from the Old English styrtan to "jump up"), it has no relation. The red tail of the bird caught the eye and other nations. Therefore, in many languages, the name of the redstart means "red tail" (Italian codirosso, Swedish rödstjärt, Greek κοκκινου̇ρης, Danish rødstjert, Belorussian bazaar). In Spanish, the redstart has the name abanico, which literally means "fan." Apparently, attentive Spaniards noticed how the redstart male periodically opens its tail, like a fan. The Finnish name for the redstart leppälintu is the "alder bird". Romanians call it codras, which can be translated as "lesovik", but they also know the name coadă-rosie "red tail".

The redstart lives in deciduous forests, often in gardens and parks. She arranges nests in hollows, in stumps, sometimes even on the ground under bushes. Redstart settles in the niches of human buildings, even in wood logs. Usually the redstart keeps low, on the branches of trees, on bushes, flies to the ground, where it searches for its food. However, the singing male can take place on the top of the tree.

Ivan Shamov, a connoisseur of bird singing, wrote about the redstart: “In April, as soon as the gardens began to dry out after spring thawing, as the redstart already here, flew from distant countries to their nesting grounds, from year to year looking for their corner without error, and from early in the morning, as soon as a strip of light appears in the east, the bird announces the garden with its modest characteristic song, in May its song is not interrupted even at night. At the hearing, she seemed to go out with the words: fi! re-re-re-re, bloom-bloom. it is invariably repeated on the same plane, but it is remarkable that the redstart will almost never put the same ending in his song, but a new one every time. And this bird is very entertaining, you always listen with pleasure and try to make out what the ending will be. Usually it consists of the desires of different birds. In addition to this song of the redstart, the reader undoubtedly heard her characteristic urge: uit! Whit !, which she loudly and for a long time repeats, especially in front of a bad weather, and when she is worried about something, she shouts: whit-te-tech! ”(“ Our songbirds ”, 1910).

In singing and cries of many birds, people are used to hearing meaningful words and phrases. For example, it was believed that the lapwing asks: “Whose are you? Whose are you? ”, and lentils:“ You saw Vitya? Did you see Nikita? ” Not avoided such a popular interpretation and singing of the redstart. The peasants of the Smolensk province believed that the redstart was boasting "I was in St. Petersburg, I was in St. Petersburg ... Peter saw, Peter saw".

The redstart feeds on insects. The bird is looking for them on the ground and on the branches, it can catch them on the fly. The ornithologist A. N. Promptov in 1940 calculated that the redstart feeding on chicks brought fodder to the nest 469 times per day. Redstart hunting for both flying insects and caterpillars. The diameter of the hunting area reaches 200-300 meters. In late summer, the redstart adds berries to its diet.

Common Redstart with prey

In May, the Redstart lays 5–9 eggs of blue color. Hatching lasts about 15 days, approximately the same redstarts feed the brood. When the chicks fly off the nest, and this happens by mid-June, the parents take care of them for a few more days, and then the young redstarts begin to live on their own, and the adults start the second clutch - in most of the range, climatic conditions allow it. Redstarts begin to fly south in September, occasionally linger until mid-October. They winter in Africa and South Arabia.

Distribution and wintering zone of the redstart

A relative of the redstart is the redstart-nib (Phoenicurus ochruros). She has no white spot on her head, and her throat and chest are black. But, of course, the main feature of the redstart, the red tail, remains.

Black redstart

This bird is interesting in its history of distribution. The original habitats of redneck-nibs are mountains in Europe and Asia. Its Asian subspecies continue life of the inhabitants of the mountains: in Altai, Tien Shan, Sayan Mountains, Dzhungarsky Alatau, in the southern part of Tibet and the Himalayas, in the mountains of Iran, on the Ordos plateau, in the Caucasus, in the Hindu Kush. Chernushki nest on rocks and mountain scree. In the winter they fly to India, Ethiopia and Somalia, the southern half of the Arabian Peninsula.

The same fate was with the redstart-chernushki - women of the Carpathians, the Alps and other mountainous areas of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. With the growth of cities, they gradually settled down among stone buildings, which, apparently, seemed to them like rocks. As a result, slowly but surely the redstart-nib began spreading beyond its native mountains.

Distribution of various subspecies of redneck-chernushki

A. Bram wrote about her: “Initially, the redstart was a mountain bird and nested on the rocks, but now in Germany it has become a domestic bird and has learned to build nests in buildings, making no distinction between populous cities and individual farms.” Bram notes that this bird was seen in the Crimea on the ruins of Malakhov Kurgan, where "its melancholic song was very helpful."

Settled in the mountainous villages of the Carpathians and the Alps, the redstart-nib continued to descend below to the plains cities. At first, it was not particularly distant from its original habitats, but in the middle of the 20th century it began to spread rather quickly to the north and south from central Europe. Some authors write that the resettlement of the Chernushka-Chernushka passed after the Second World War, when there were many ruins in the cities, where this bird could build nests, as in its usual rocks. Redneck-nibble outside the mountainous areas and now lives mainly in cities, settling in the holes of concrete slabs, ventilation passages, other niches and recesses of buildings.

The ornithologist M. S. Dolbin in 1956 for the first time noted the appearance of the redstart-nib in the Belarusian Polesye. L. L. Semago met her in Voronezh in 1963. Oleg Borodin, the author of the essay on redstarts on the website of the Union of Birds of Russia of Russia, says that he was the first in the Ulyanovsk region to spot the redstart nidge in 1980.

In Russia there are several representatives of the genus Redstart. The Siberian Redstart (Phoenicurus auroreus) lives in eastern Siberia. In the Altai, Sayan, and Tien Shan mountains, the gray-headed redstart (Phoenicurus caeruleocephala), the red-spined redstart (Phoenicurus erythronotus) and the red-bellied redstart (Phoenicurus erythrogastrus) are found. The last of these species can be found in the Caucasus.


Redstart couples are often preserved for several years. Males return to nesting sites earlier than females. They are looking for a place for a nest: usually it is a hollow or a pile of dead trees. Having found a place, they call for females, not moving away from the site: after all, a place may take. There is one more way how to invite a female - to get into the hollow and expose the "flaming" tail. The female is looking for a male and arrives in the hollow. After the appearance of the partner, the male immediately starts the mating game. When the female approaches the future nest, the male sings a song and bows his head, showing a white forehead, spinning around its axis. After that, the birds mate and line the hollow with dry grass, bark and moss. At the final stage, the “children's room” is insulated with down and wool. The female lays 6-7 eggs and incubates them for two weeks, from time to time leaving the nest to satisfy hunger. To chicks that appeared in two weeks, both birds bring food.

The redstart male is also responsible for keeping the nest clean for the first days after the chicks appear. The male makes children's excrement in the beak out. 2 weeks after the birth of the chicks learn to fly. However, even when the female incubates the second clutch, the male continues to nestle the chicks from the first brood. After the birth of chicks from the second clutch, the older chicks begin an independent life.

Where it lives

In Europe, the Redstart lives in light mixed forests, and in Africa and Asia Minor it also inhabits mountain forests. It leaves stony places and rocks near mountain meadows to a close relative - the black redstart.

In some gardens both species of these birds coexist. Among the favorite places of residence of the Redstart is old parks and alleys, where there are many old hollow trees. In Berlin, the redstarts populated city parks, gardens and cemeteries. Nowadays, the urban redstarting populations are more abundant than in the suburban forests. In late August, the Redstarting Plants begin to prepare for flying to warm Africa. Winter is spent in the countries located to the south from the Sahara.


Redstart feeds on various insects and spiders, which they find on the ground, on tree trunks, branches and leaves. Occasionally, birds catch insects in the air, looking for prey from an ambush.

The redstart is in no hurry to eat the caught prey - at first it takes it to a safe place. Large insects, for example, beetles, she stuns in advance with a blow to the ground, and she cuts off her legs to grasshoppers. In addition to caterpillars, ants, small mollusks and centipedes, the bird eats berries and fruits. Small chicks are able to swallow only chopped food, so adult birds first crush the caught insects and only then give them to the chicks.

Voracious chicks often bring parents to complete physical exhaustion, because the birds fly to the nest up to 500 times a day, each time bringing food to the chicks in their beak.


The Redstart often nests near the nuthatch or tit. She willingly lays eggs in specially prepared nesting houses. The higher her house is located in the garden, the greater the chances for successful reproduction of the bird, of course, provided that there is a sufficient amount of food in the area. Gardeners rejoice when these insectivorous birds appear on their sites. The "friendship" of people with redstart brings them great benefits. After all, the bird saves the gardens from various insect pests: grasshopper beetles, bedbugs, caterpillars, leaf beetles and mosquitoes.


  • Redstarts, like wagtails, shake their tails up and down.
  • The common redstart can attack its reflection by seeing it, for example, in a glass window.
  • The male hunts prey in flight, while the female searches for food on the surface of the earth.
  • The name of this bird indicates that it has a brightly colored tail. It "burns", because the tail feathers have a fiery color.
  • It is in the redstart nest that the cuckoo most often leaves its eggs. Redstarts take care of cuckoos as if they were their own chicks.


Female: in comparison with the male, it is colored less brightly. The tail is bright red, the rest of the plumage is brown.

Male: the back is ash-gray, the chest, belly, sides and tail are rusty-red, the throat and cheeks are black. The bright red tail and white forehead play an important role during the performance of the ritual dance.

Eggs: in laying 6-7 bluish, sometimes covered with brown specks of eggs.

- Nesting sites
- Wintering locations

Where it lives

The Redstart nests in Europe everywhere, with the exception of Ireland, as well as in North Africa, Siberia and Asia Minor. Winters in West and East Africa.


In most places in the European range, the number of redstart populations is decreasing. The cause may be a prolonged drought in wintering places of the redstart.

Redstart. Brateevo. Marino. Video (00:00:24)

The common redstart in Moscow is not numerous. For the winter flies to Africa and South Arabia. In Brateevo and Marino see her very rarely and close to housing.
In the summer, Redstart nests were observed in wastelands near Upper Fields.
Once in the warm winter, several redstrikes were seen in the same wastelands.