#186 American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)

A BIRD to start a new month

1 September

The male is very easily identified – this image is of a female

The male (not my photo) is this flashy fellow:

A warbler that hops among tree branches in search of insects, the male American Redstart is coal-black with vivid orange patches on the sides, wings, and tail. Often flashes its strikingly patterned tail and wing feathers. Females and immature males have more subdued yellow “flash patterns” on a gray background. These sweet-singing warblers nest in open woodlands across much of North America.

incredibly active insectivores that seem never to stand still. They rapidly spread their cocked tails, exposing the orange or yellow in a quick flash, which often startles insect prey into flushing, whereupon the redstart darts after it, attempting to catch it in the air.

Breed in open wooded habitats, particularly those dominated by deciduous trees. In migration, the species can be found in nearly any treed habitats. Its tropical winter habitat is in woodlands and open forest at lower and middle elevations.

In late summer, Redstarts visit plants with small berries and fruits, such asserviceberry and magnolia. Planting these in your yard may help attract them.

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