Most beautiful small birds - Sykalo Eugen 2024

American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)


  • Species name: American Redstart
  • Scientific name: Setophaga ruticilla
  • Family: Parulidae (Wood Warblers)
  • Order: Passeriformes (Songbirds)
  • Subclass: Neornithes (Modern birds)
  • Class: Aves (Birds)


  • Size: Small warbler, about 11-14 cm (4.3-5.5 in) long with a wingspan of 16-23 cm (6.3-9.1 in).
  • Body shape: Slender and active, with a long, forked tail and pointed wings.
  • Plumage color:

Males (breeding season): Striking contrast of black body with bright orange patches on sides, wings, and tail. White belly and underparts.

Females and immature males: More subdued, with yellow or yellow-orange patches instead of orange and gray head and underparts. Olive back and wings.

  • Beak: Slender and black, adapted for gleaning insects.
  • Legs: Long and dark gray.
  • Tail: Long, forked, and often fanned open during flight and displays.


  • Feeding: Insectivorous, flitting actively through trees and vegetation to catch insects in mid-air or glean them from leaves.
  • Reproduction: Builds cup-shaped nests in high branches of trees. Lays 4-6 pale blue eggs with dark markings. Both parents feed the young.
  • Movement: Migratory, breeding in eastern North America and wintering in Central and South America. Makes long and impressive migrations.
  • Communication: High-pitched, buzzy song and a sharp "cheet" call. Males sing frequently during breeding season to defend territory and attract mates.


  • Habitat: Deciduous and mixed-coniferous forests, especially with open understory. Also found in parks, gardens, and wooded edges.
  • Diet: Primarily insects, including caterpillars, leafhoppers, flies, and spiders.
  • Hunting methods: Gleans insects from leaves and branches, sallies out to catch flying insects, and sometimes hovers to capture prey.

Distribution: Breeds in eastern and northern North America from Canada to northern Georgia and west to Minnesota. Winters in Central and South America, from Colombia to northern Argentina.

American Redstart

The American Redstart, with its fiery plumage and acrobatic flitting, is a captivating sight in any forest. But beneath its beauty lies a bundle of scientific intrigue and curious quirks. Get ready to be dazzled by these feathered facts:

Migration Marvel: The American Redstart holds the record for the longest non-stop flight of any North American songbird, clocking in at over 1,100 miles across the Gulf of Mexico! Their tiny bodies are specially adapted for this grueling journey, fueled by stored fat and an incredibly efficient metabolism. Think of them as feathered endurance machines!

Insect Interceptor: Redstarts are insectivores extraordinaire, meticulously gleaning insects from leaves and branches with their sharp beaks and acrobatic agility. Their keen eyesight allows them to spot even the most camouflaged prey, making them the ultimate buggy assassins of the forest.

Flash Mob Master: During courtship, male redstarts put on a spectacular show. They perform elaborate aerial displays, flitting and flashing their scarlet plumage like living flames. This aerial ballet serves as a dazzling advertisement for their genes, leaving females swooning over their acrobatic prowess.

Singing Secrets: The redstart's song isn't just a pretty tune; it's a complex code woven with chirps, whistles, and trills. Each male has a unique song dialect, passed down through generations and used to defend territory and attract mates. Imagine them as avian opera singers with their own regional accents!

Feather Fashion Faux Pas: Don't be fooled by the vibrant red males; female redstarts are a study in camouflage. Their olive-green plumage helps them blend seamlessly into the foliage, keeping them safe from predators while incubating eggs and caring for chicks. It's like wearing a leafy invisibility cloak!

Nest-Building Ninjas: Redstart nests are architectural marvels, woven from leaves, twigs, and spider silk into cup-shaped masterpieces. But here's the twist: they often incorporate man-made materials like string and feathers, showcasing their adaptability and resourcefulness. Talk about recycling with style!

Unexpected Winter Warriors: Unlike most songbirds that migrate south for the winter, some redstarts choose to brave the cold. These "wintering" individuals rely on a diet of berries and suet, proving their resilience and ability to adapt to harsh conditions. They're the feathered Spartans of the bird world!

Global Greetings: The American Redstart's range extends beyond North America, with populations breeding in South America and the Caribbean. These transcontinental travelers play a vital role in seed dispersal and insect control, highlighting their ecological importance across the globe.