Posted By Zoey T. Posted On

A Snow White Belly And Vivid Orange Flanks Taper To A Bright Yellow Tail Making An Outgoing Bird That More Eye Catching – Meet The American Redstart!

Highly striking and distinctive, not only because of his vivid orange coloration but also because of his conspicuous pirouettes and acrobatic fly-catching sorties.


Photo Courtesy of Andrew Cannizzaro / CC BY 2.0

The American redstart (Setophaga ruticilla), is a New World warbler 12 cm long, breeding males are highly conspicuous with their jet black plumage above, complemented by large orange-red patches on their wings and tails. The sides of their breast are also orange, with the rest of their belly colored white.

Photo Courtesy of Shenandoah National Park / Public domain

On the female, the orange patches of the male are replaced by yellow. Her tail is also often partly fanned out.

The breeding range for this species ranges from southern Canada down and across to the eastern United States.

Photo Courtesy of Dan Pancamo / CC BY-SA 2.0

They like to winter in Central America, the West Indies, and northern South America.

Photo Courtesy of Nina Hale / CC BY 2.0

American redstarts like to inhabit second-growth wooded and forested areas, as well as thickets with young saplings.

Photo Courtesy of Nina Hale / CC BY 2.0

American Redstarts dine mainly on insects which are usually caught on the wing. They also, however, catch their prey by picking them from leaves. They have also been known to flash their orange and yellow of their tails, on and off, to startle, and then chase insects from the undergrowth.

Photo Courtesy of Joseph Gage / CC BY-SA 2.0

These birds like to breed in open woodlands or scrub, often near water. Nesting in the lower half of a bush, they lay 2-5 eggs in the nest made from grass, bark shreds, plant fibers, and spiderwebs lined with fine grass and hair. The eggs are incubated for 10 to 13 days, becoming fledged about nine days after they hatch.

Photo Courtesy of ALAN SCHMIERER / Public domain

Conversation efforts for this species are ongoing, with coffee farmers planting shade trees to encourage the species because of the benefits they provide to plantations. Still, the most effective method for American Redstart conservation is the natural habitat preservation at wintering and breeding grounds.

Photo Courtesy of ALAN SCHMIERER / Public domain