The first arrival in Argyll was on 13th April at St Catherines on Cowal, found by Paul Slater. A summer visitor to the UK, the red-tailed Redstart is a robin-sized bird that can be spotted in woodlands, parks and hedgerows, mainly in the north and west of the UK.
An elegant, robin-sized chat, the Redstart arrives here in April and leaves in September. It feeds on insects, especially butterfly and beetle larvae, and can be seen foraging in woodlands, hedgerows, parks and beside streams. Redstarts have an upright stance and can be seen ‘bobbing’ and moving in a similar fashion to Robins. They spend most of their time in the trees
Male Redstarts are grey above, with a red breast, black throat, white forehead, long black legs, and a long red tail. The similar-looking Black Redstart is a dark, sooty grey and red tail, and is a rare nesting bird that frequents city centres and industrial areas, rather than woodlands. It is found in the north and west of the UK, particularly Wales and can turn up anywhere during migration. Unfortunately, like most species, Redstarts are a declining species and, as such, have been classified on the Amber List as a species in decline under the Birds of Conservation for Concern 4. The Redstart is on the Red List for Birds (2015).
They breed in Britain in upland broadleaf woodland areas, particularly oak. Once in the UK (males arrive a few days prior to females), they begin their breeding process and produce approximately five or six light blue-coloured eggs. Redstarts depart the UK around mid-August and return to their warmer climates in Africa and Asia for the winter. Redstarts are named after their red tail, which they frequently ‘shiver’. Their song is similar to that of the Chaffinch but fades away much quicker. A slow rather than a fast bowler.