American Redstart

(Setophaga ruticilla)

Conservation Status
American Redstart
Photo by Dan W. Andree
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

     
  NatureServe

N5B - Secure Breeding

SNRB - Unranked Breeding

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

 

 
     
 

Size

 
 

5 in length

8½ wingspan

 
     
 

Voice

 
   
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Shrubby woodland edges, open and semi-open deciduous and mixed forests, often near water

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Migration

 
 

Early May to early October

 
     
 

Nesting

 
 

 

 
     
 

Food

 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common migrant and breeder

 
         
 

Maps

 
 

The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union All Seasons Species Occurrence Map

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Class Aves (birds)  
 

Order

Passeriformes (perching birds)  
 

Family

Parulidae (New World warblers, wood warblers)  
 

Genus

Setophaga (redstarts)  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Dan W. Andree

 
 

Early Spring 2021 male American Redstart...

Came across this adult male American redstart earlier this Spring. It just set up its territory in some woodlands near a small creek in Norman Co. Mn. Very alert and always paying close attention to anything going on. About a week later another male redstart showed up and they would have aerial displays going on circling and occasionally making contact with each other swirling to the ground briefly and back up. Eventually both male redstarts had boundaries to their territories and female redstarts showed up…and the nesting season began. In Spring breeding plumage some are quite beautiful little birds.

  American Redstart  
           
 

3 little American Redstarts almost ready to...

leave their nest. But since this photo was taken the biggest one did leave the nest and though I am not sure more than likely the other two as well by now. The biggest one which is the upper one was flapping its wings a lot in the nest and the adult female was trying to coax it out of the nest. I had to leave and go recharge my camera battery and by the time I got back he was out of the nest.

One other odd thing ... while all 3 little redstarts were in the nest and the female was away from it a cowbird laid an egg right by the little redstarts.

  American Redstart  
 

My guess is that the redstarts will continue getting their young out of the nest and leave the area tending to their young out of the nest. Fortunate these 3 were old enough and ready to leave so the cowbird couldn’t interfere with the outcome. I am not fond of cowbirds ones I have seen are rather ugly baby birds. Most often the host birds offspring are crowded and starved out by the ugly baby cowbird. Kind of gross but I guess part of the natural world. Still not liking it though.

The little redstarts are really cute and have a lot of character. Redstarts do not seem to mind me at all and have had adult males right below my feet at times as well as some females. The biggest baby redstart left the nest early sometime in the afternoon on June 19, 2021. The two others were still in there but like mentioned probably left by now. It has been raining all day so haven’t been out to check or anything. Maybe will if it quits. They are pretty cute.

 
           
 

Update on the 3 little redstarts...

It stopped raining late afternoon so I went out and checked the nest. All 3 left the nest and not sure what happened to the cowbird egg. I couldn’t get a real good look into the nest but it looked like it may have gotten broken. Maybe the rambunctious little redstarts scrambled around and it got broke. No loss really just glad they made it out of the nest.

All 3 had left the nest. I checked late this afternoon once the rain quit. I couldn’t tell for sure but it looked like maybe that cowbird egg got smashed or broken.

  American Redstart  
 

There is another pair a real nice little male and female redstart that have 2 nestlings that are maybe 6 days old and there is a cowbird egg in that nest that hasn’t hatched yet. Maybe they will leave the nest in time too. I’ll monitor it since only a few more days before they will be ready to leave. The little male is use to me and returns to the same general area every spring. He has been under foot several times which surprises me and always catches me off guard.

Here is a photo with the 3 little redstarts and the cowbird egg. So sneaky cowbirds are I was by this nest and walked maybe 50 yards down a trail pausing briefly and seen something fly from this nest area but just thought it was a random bird in the woods but must of been the cowbird. Since all the sudden there was an egg in the nest. I couldn’t believe it... So yeah cowbirds are very sneaky.

 
           
 

Egg in Redstart nest...

I managed to get a look into the empty nest. What I thought the other day when I partially could see in it that the egg was broken. Turned out to be bird poop and the egg was still there but the redstarts gone. This isn’t a good photo because it was on a slope and I couldn’t steady the camera very well. But you can see it is still there. A person sees and learns a lot out in nature sometimes. Photo is from this morning.

  American Redstart  
           
 

Male Redstart...

The female jumped off the nest and the male came and fed the 2 nestlings. He paused for several seconds looking over the nestlings then left the nest and the female returned.

It was really neat seeing how caring the adults are at tending to their young etc. Also very beneficial when it comes to helping control insects.

  American Redstart  
           
 

Male Redstart at the nest...

The female darted off the nest and the male brought food for the hatchlings in the nest. The male paused for a while and the female returned with food for the young too. The male exited the nest site quickly. He’s a nice little bird.

  American Redstart  
           
 

American Redstart...

 
    American Redstart      
           
 

American Redstart adult male...

I have observed many redstarts over the past several seasons. They do not seem to care if they get a bit dingy or dirty hunting for insects, defending their territories etc. They will dart over, up, down, under and through places just to find food etc. One thing that I found really interesting is that some redstarts can go down to the water looking dull and dingy but after they bathe and dry off are brighter in color than before. With some it made me wonder if it was the same bird. Hyperactive, sometimes fanning tails and displaying their color patches they are hard working little birds that even though may appear drab or dull at times some clean up nicely. Orange and red orange etc. color patches do vary from bright to less bright with orange tinting from almost red(orange-red) to yellow orange. Wing and tail color patches can be lighter than the color patches on the front side areas. Observed both a male and a female redstart with off-white tail feather areas. Like many birds they are beneficial at helping control insects.

  American Redstart  
           
 

American Redstart ....

They can be beautiful when they want to be. I know them well.

  American Redstart  
           
 

Adult male American Redstart in Spring of 2017

 
    American Redstart      
           
 

Adult male at the nest about to feed a small insect to two newly hatched nestlings - June 2017.

 
    American Redstart      
           
 

Adult female on her nest in the woods.

 
    American Redstart      
           
 

Adult female American Redstart on her nest in the woods.

 
    American Redstart      
 

Norm & Peg Dibble

 
  Noticed several striking black/orange/white small birds darting all over our water garden area and did not recognize them. Finally found a photo of the male American Redstart that matched what we were seeing. So happy to get a sharp photo when one finally got close to our kitchen window. Having dead tree branches and logs in your garden encourages birds to perch up higher on them and often gives you a clearer look at them and hopefully a better photo too. Sure hope these interesting birds come back again next spring. I’ll be watching for them.   American Redstart  
 

Alicia Schmidt

 
    American Redstart   American Redstart  
 

Wayne Rasmussen

 
    American Redstart      
           
 
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Other Videos
 
  American Redstart bathing
h2otara
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Sep 15, 2011

I looked out late today to see a Painted Redstart jumping in and out of our "water feature." We had 2 females last night in addition to a Yellow-throated Warbler. The light was low, but there was just enough to capture her enthusiastic bath.

   
  American Redstart - Racine Co., WI
Eric Howe
 
   
 
About

Published on Jun 29, 2012

Nicholson Wildlife Refuge
Caledonia, WI
28 June 2012

   
  American Redstart Portrait
ebirdr
 
   
 
About

Published on Jul 18, 2012

Warblers have been described as the butterflies of the bird world. Although this bird is not called a warbler in its name, it is called an American Redstart, it epitomizes this characterization of warblers. It is very flighty and very bold in its coloration.

The American Redstart is a common warbler found in deciduous forest understory especially near water. The male has a glossy black head and body with radiant orange patches on sides, wings, and tail. It has a white belly and undertail coverts. The female has gray-olive upperparts, white below with yellow patches on her wings and tail.

This warbler is a very active flycatcher. It often fans its tail and spreads its wings when perched.

The song is a "zee zee zee zee zwee".

   
  American Redstart in Maine
WIld Bird Video Productions
 
   
 
About

Published on May 24, 2012

This male American Redstart was singing on his territory on a dreary spring morning. Males don't acquire their full Breeding black and orange Breeding plumage until their second Breeding season. © 2012 Garth McElroy. www.wildbirdvideos.com

Licsense my content at paya.com
http://www.paya.com/seller/111

License at http://www.paya.com/videos/135223

   
  American Redstart (females)
seahue
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 10, 2011

I'm pretty sure this is an american redstart...correct me if Im wrong...A very elusive bird visits my window branch and lets me film them for the first time! Just when I was getting into the groove of filming- the window feeder regulars (mourning dove, tufted titmouse) scared them off.

music by Greendjohn from Jamendo creative commons song called 'last breath' http://www.jamendo.com/en/track/729306

   
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
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  Dan W. Andree
Early spring 2021

Location: Norman Co., Mn.

Came across this adult male American redstart earlier this Spring. It just set up its territory in some woodlands near a small creek in Norman Co. Mn. Very alert and always paying close attention to anything going on. About a week later another male redstart showed up and they would have aerial displays going on circling and occasionally making contact with each other swirling to the ground briefly and back up. Eventually both male redstarts had boundaries to their territories and female redstarts showed up…and the nesting season began. In Spring breeding plumage some are quite beautiful little birds.

American Redstart

 
  Dan W. Andree
6/19/2021

Location: rural Norman Co. Mn.

3 little American Redstarts almost ready to leave their nest. But since this photo was taken the biggest one did leave the nest and though I am not sure more than likely the other two as well by now. The biggest one which is the upper one was flapping its wings a lot in the nest and the adult female was trying to coax it out of the nest. I had to leave and go recharge my camera battery and by the time I got back he was out of the nest.

One other odd thing ... while all 3 little redstarts were in the nest and the female was away from it a cowbird laid an egg right by the little redstarts. My guess is that the redstarts will continue getting their young out of the nest and leave the area tending to their young out of the nest. Fortunate these 3 were old enough and ready to leave so the cowbird couldn’t interfere with the outcome. I am not fond of cowbirds ones I have seen are rather ugly baby birds. Most often the host birds offspring are crowded and starved out by the ugly baby cowbird. Kind of gross but I guess part of the natural world. Still not liking it though.

The little redstarts are really cute and have a lot of character. Redstarts do not seem to mind me at all and have had adult males right below my feet at times as well as some females. The biggest baby redstart left the nest early sometime in the afternoon on June 19, 2021. The two others were still in there but like mentioned probably left by now. It has been raining all day so haven’t been out to check or anything. Maybe will if it quits. They are pretty cute.

American Redstart

 
  Dan W. Andree
6/21/2021

Location: rural Norman Co. Mn.

I managed to get a look into the empty nest. What I thought the other day when I partially could see in it that the egg was broken. Turned out to be bird poop and the egg was still there but the redstarts gone. This isn’t a good photo because it was on a slope and I couldn’t steady the camera very well. But you can see it is still there. A person sees and learns a lot out in nature sometimes. Photo is from this morning.

American Redstart

 
  Dan W. Andree
Late Spring 2021

Location: rural Norman Co. Mn.

The female jumped off the nest and the male came and fed the 2 nestlings. He paused for several seconds looking over the nestlings then left the nest and the female returned.

It was really neat seeing how caring the adults are at tending to their young etc. Also very beneficial when it comes to helping control insects.

American Redstart

 
  Dan W. Andree
6/11/2021

Location: Rural Norman Co. Mn.

The female darted off the nest and the male brought food for the hatchlings in the nest. The male paused for a while and the female returned with food for the young too. The male exited the nest site quickly. He’s a nice little bird.

American Redstart

 
  Dan W. Andree
6/9/2021

Location: rural Norman Co. Mn.

American Redstart

 
  Fr. Jason Houck
7/4/2020

Location: Victoria, MN

Sighting by six-year-old Silas Houck

  Norm & Peg Dibble
5/22/2019

Location: Maple Grove, MN

Noticed several striking black/orange/white small birds darting all over our water garden area and did not recognize them. Finally found a photo of the male American Redstart that matched what we were seeing. So happy to get a sharp photo when one finally got close to our kitchen window. Having dead tree branches and logs in your garden encourages birds to perch up higher on them and often gives you a clearer look at them and hopefully a better photo too. Sure hope these interesting birds come back again next spring. I’ll be watching for them.

American Redstart

 
  Dan W. Andree
Spring 2019

Location: rural Norman Co. Mn.

I have observed many redstarts over the past several seasons. They do not seem to care if they get a bit dingy or dirty hunting for insects, defending their territories etc. They will dart over, up, down, under and through places just to find food etc. One thing that I found really interesting is that some redstarts can go down to the water looking dull and dingy but after they bathe and dry off are brighter in color than before. With some it made me wonder if it was the same bird. Hyperactive, sometimes fanning tails and displaying their color patches they are hard working little birds that even though may appear drab or dull at times some clean up nicely. Orange and red orange etc. color patches do vary from bright to less bright with orange tinting from almost red(orange-red) to yellow orange. Wing and tail color patches can be lighter than the color patches on the front side areas. Observed both a male and a female redstart with off-white tail feather areas. Like many birds they are beneficial at helping control insects.

American Redstart

 
  Dan W. Andree
5/25/2019

Location: rural Norman Co. Mn.

They can be beautiful when they want to be. I know them well.  

American Redstart

 
  JoanS
5/24, 5/25/2019

Location: Mounds View, MN

First sighting ever in a marshy area behind my property catching lunch and dinner.

  Dave Hensel
5/23/2019

Location: Lino Lakes

A pair of American Redstarts feed on insects all day

  Bonnie Schultz
5/23/2019

Location: Kellogg MN

  Allgodscreatures
5/22/2019

Location: Saint Michael

Scratching the ground looking for food. Flitting up and down into our apricot trees in our front yard. First ever sighting.

  Bonnie Lee
5/21/2019

Location: Monticello, MN

  Alicia Schmidt
5/18/2019

Location: Cottonwood, MN

American Redstart

 
  Chris Coopman
5/20/2019

Location: Mankato, MN

Blue Earth River Valley I don’t recall ever seeing one prior.

  Brooks Hanes
5/19/2019

Location: Farmington, Minnesota

Near our home by Dakota County Fairgrounds. In small brush area by South side of house.

  Kieth Bizmark
5/19/2019

Location: Askov Mn

  Jessica A.
5/19/2019

Location: Forest Lake, MN

Encountered a male flipping foliage over looking for insects.

  SandieM
5/19/2019

Location: Clear Lake, MN

  JanetG
5/18/2019

Location: On deck in East Bethel

Saw on edge of deck for about 10 seconds. Never saw one before!

  CShowalter
5/12/2018

Location: Ramsey, MN

Multiple male and female birds in narrow track of forested area in backyard. Noted splaying of tail and swooping to catch insects while eating.

  Doug DeCarolis
5/12/2018

Location: Credit River Township

spotted in woods. Never seen one before. 

  Dan W. Andree
Spring 2017

Location: Norman County, MN

Adult male American Redstart

American Redstart

 
  Dan W. Andree
June 2017

Location: Norman County, MN in the woods at my brothers rural home.

Adult male at the nest about to feed a small insect to two newly hatched nestlings

American Redstart

 
  Dan W. Andree
June 24, 2017

Location: Norman County, MN in the woods at my brothers rural home.

Adult female on her nest in the woods.

American Redstart

 
  Wayne Rasmussen
May 2014

Location: Big Woods, Nerstrand, MN

American Redstart

 
  Jen Sheeler
9/3/2016

Location: Stillwater mn

Have never seen one in my yard before. Pretty exciting! Was hanging out by our little pond for hours.

  Kathy
Bloomquist

6/17/2015

Location: Denmark Township, MN

Unmistakable markings, especially the tail.

           
 
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