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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Common Redstart

Bird Sightings - Common Redstart

Common Redstart


Phoenicurus phoenicurus

Gaelic: Ceann-deargan

Photograph Grahame Thompson (who apologises for the focus!)
Aiginish - Point - Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
19 October 2005

"As well as the Redstart, there were also 5 Blackcaps, a Song Thrush, Redwing, Goldcrest and Wren found at Aiginish"

Grahame is one of two BTO ringers on the Isle of Lewis, he does the East side. His usual areas are the Castle Grounds and Aiginish, plus a whole heap of other sites depending on time of year and species.


  • Common Redstart
  • Phoenicurus phoenicurus
  • Gaelic: Ceann-deargan
  • UK: AMBER LIST. Breeding 101,000 pairs BTO
  • UK: Migrant Breeder, Passage Visitor
  • WI: Scarce passage visitor (Very small numbers each year)
  • Breeds: Nests in cracks and crevices in mature timbert. Lays 5-6 light-blue eggs. Europe, Asia
  • Winters: North Africa, Arabia
  • Habitat: Woodland (prefers oaks), hedgerow, streamsides, open parkland. (migration coastal scrub, thickets, woodland)
  • Diet: Often feeds in air like a flycathe r: Mostly insects (prefers butterfly & beetle larvae), also spiders,worms, berries.
  • On ground Restart bobs like a Robin. Rich chestnut-orange tails almost always in motion. Black bill & legs.
    Breeding male slate-grey upperparts. Orange-chestnut chest & rump (above tail). Black face & throat. White forehead. Brownish wings. Belly pale orangeish-white.
    In autumn buff fringes obscure the adult male's bright colours
    Female browner. Underparts paler. No black or slate-grey parts. Throat whitish.
    1st winter male like female but some greyish-black on throat, orange breast is mottled, & bird may have a hint of a white forehead
  • Max recorded age 10yrs 3mths
  • Listen to a Common Redstart (RSPB site). Lovely! and Robin-like
  • Similar birds: Black Redstart

Start is an old word for tail, the Redstart's tail is very noticeable and always in motion...


Common Redstart records in the Western Isles

Scarce passage visitor (Very small numbers each year)
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)


The chart below shows how abundant the Common Redstart is during a month or when you are more likely to see it.

















(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)


Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section


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