American Redstart

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Common Name: American Redstart
Scientific Name: Setophaga ruticilla

Size: 4.3-5.1 inches (11-13cm)

Habitat: North and South America; throughout Canada, the United States (except the Pacific Northwest), Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula and Northern South America. These birds are migratory, wintering in Central America, the West Indies, and northern South America (in Venezuela they are called "candelitas"). They are very rare vagrants to Western Europe.

Found in moist second growth deciduous forest, with abundant shrubs.

Status: Not Threatened. Global Population: 25,000,000 mature individuals. This species has undergone a small or statistically insignificant decrease over the last 40 years in North America.

Diet: Mostly insects; also some small fruits. Gleans insects from leaves, trunks, and branches. Also hawks insects in the air. Actively fans its tail and wings to elicit movement by prey. Also turns body back and forth to flush insects.

Breeding: Adult males have black hoods, backs, wings, tails, and chests. They have white bellies with orange on sides of breast. There are orange patches in wings and sides of base of tail. Females have light gray heads and gray to light green backs with whitish bellies. Yellow patches are found on sides of breast and yellow patches in wing and outer tail feathers. They have a faint, broken white eye ring. Immature birds look like adult females, though the immature males have a darker tail and may have irregular patches of black on head, breast, or back.

The male American Redstart occasionally is polygynous, having two mates at the same time. Unlike many other polygynous species of birds that have two females nesting in the same territory, the redstart holds two separate territories up to 500 m (1,640 ft) apart. The male starts to attract a second female after the first has completed her clutch and is incubating the eggs. The nest is a tightly woven open cup fitted into the branches or forks of trees or shrubs. 1 to 5 cream white eggs with dark speckles around large end are laid.

Cool Facts: The American Redstart is not particularly closely related to the Painted Redstart and the other redstart warblers of the Neotropics. They all are similarly patterned and forage in similar ways, flashing their tails and wings to startle insect prey. In other parts of the world other unrelated species of birds look and act similarly, such as the fantails of Australia and southeastern Asia.

Found in Songbird ReMix Cool 'n' Unusual Birds 3

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