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common name for an Old World thrush of the genus Phoenicurus, family Turdidae. A small, slender-legged songbird, it is found in woodlands, parks, and heaths. The European redstart, P. phoenicurus, also known as the firetail, breeds as far north as Scotland but winters in Africa. It is red-tailed and black-throated, with a bay-colored breast and ash-blue back and cap. It is a solitary bird and is highly aggressive during its breeding season. The Japanese P. aurorea is the easternmost representative of the genus. Redstarts build crude, cup-shaped nests either near the ground or in the hole of a tree or building. They lay from five to seven greenish-blue, faintly red-spotted eggs per clutch. The common name redstart is also used for several species of small New World wood-warblers, family Parulidae, in the genera Stetophaga and Myioborus. These are aerial insect catchers with wide, flat bills surrounded by stiff whiskerlike bristles called vibrissae. Like the Old World redstarts, to which they are not related, they are songbirds. The North American redstart (S. ruticillia) breeds in the temperate United States and Canada but winters in N South America. It is glossy black with a white breast and has orange wings, tail, and side patches. In females, gray and yellow replace black and orange. In the painted redstart (S. picta) of Central America, both sexes are equally brightly colored, red where its North American cousin is white, and white where the cousin is orange. There are also approximately ten species of redstarts in the tropical genus Myiobarus. The New World redstarts inhabit deciduous forest areas, preferably near water. Their eggs, from three to five per clutch in the northern species and from two to four per clutch in the tropical species, are grayish-white with variously colored spots and speckles. Redstarts are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Passeriformes, families Turdidae and Parulidae.
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1. any European songbird of the genus Phoenicurus, esp P. phoenicurus, in which the male has a black throat, orange-brown tail and breast, and grey back: family Muscicapidae (thrushes, etc.)
2. any North American warbler of the genus Setophaga, esp S. ruticilla
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
American Redstarts seemed to prefer ash and avoid "white" oak more during cold springs.
American Redstarts breeding in Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest (New Hampshire) are indifferent to sugar maple but they prefer yellow birch (Betula allegheniensis) (Holmes and Robinson, 1981).
In Jamaica, American Redstarts and Black-throated Blue Warblers defend small areas using stereotyped postures and vocalizations, reside on the same area throughout the winter, return to the same site in subsequent years, and respond aggressively to playbacks of vocalizations comprised of mixed song and chip call notes; individuals tend to be relatively evenly dispersed within habitats (Holmes et al.
1987, Stutchbury 1994), and in American Redstarts in Jamaica (Marra et al.
For American Redstarts in Jamaica, the sex ratios varied markedly among habitats, ranging from 65-70% males in mangroves to 42% males in coastal scrub forest [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1B OMITTED].
- To examine body mass by habitat and season, we analyzed data on American Redstarts, obtained from a sample of individuals captured using mist nets in early winter (mid-October to early November) and late winter (mid- to late March) in Jamaica, October 1986 to March 1994.
- To measure persistence over winter, we captured and color-marked American Redstarts in early winter (mid-October to early November), shortly after they had arrived in Jamaica.
During the spring and summer, Holmes and Sherry direct a long-running and multifaceted study of the population dynamics of American redstarts and black-throated blue warblers that nest in New Hampshire.
In autumn, black-throated blue warblers migrate to the Greater Antilles, and American redstarts scatter to Mexico and the Caribbean islands and south to Venezuela.
"American redstarts were a perfect species for this study since they defend exclusive territories throughout the non-breeding period until they depart for spring migration and most return back to the same territory the following year," said Pete Marra, research ecologist at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute's Migratory Bird Center.
"Because American redstarts return to the same site to breed each year, arriving later may make it harder for them remain to remain in synch with their breeding cycle," Studds said.
Sherry of Tulane University in New Orleans studied a population of American redstarts (Setophaga ruticilla) that summer in New Hampshire's White Mountains and winter in Jamaica.

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