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Conservation status: Red

The black redstart is a small robin-sized bird that has adapted to live at the heart of industrial and urban centres. Its name comes from the plumage of the male, which is grey-black in colour with a red tail. With fewer than 100 breeding pairs in the UK, the black redstart is on the Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern.



Latin name

Phoenicurus ochruros


Chats and thrushes (Turdidae)

Where to see them

Breeding birds occur mainly in urban areas of Greater London, Birmingham and the Black Country with a few pairs in Nottingham, Liverpool, Manchester and Ipswich, and the odd pair at cliff sites and power stations along the south coast between Suffolk and Dorset. There is a good spring passage of black redstarts through the UK and Ireland and they can turn up anywhere, but particularly at the coast. On return passage in autumn, they can be relatively numerous in places like the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall. In winter, a small number are found from Lancashire and Lincolnshire southwards, and along the south coast.

When to see them

Breeding birds and spring passage migrants arrive between March and May. Autumn passage lasts from September to November, peaking in October. Wintering birds are present between late autumn and early spring.

What they eat

Insects, spiders, worms, berries and seeds.


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-19-44 pairs400 birds-



In the UK
Breeds in southern England and Midlands, winter around south, east and west coasts of England and Wales.
In Europe
Western, central and southern Europe.
Europe, Asia and Africa


Niels Krabbe, Xeno-canto

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