/red"stahrt'/, n.1. any of several small, Old World thrushes, usually with reddish-brown tails, esp. Phoenicurus phoenicurus (European redstart).2. any of several fly-catching, New World warblers, esp. Setophaga ruticilla (American redstart), having black and white plumage with reddish-orange patches.[1560-70; RED1 + obs. start tail (ME start, stert tail, handle, OE steort tail; akin to OHG sterz, ON stertr)]
* * *Any of about 11 species of Old World chat-thrushes (see chat) in the genus Phoenicurus (family Turdidae) or about 12 New World species of wood warblers (family Parulidae) of similar appearance and behaviour.Old World redstarts have a red tail, which they constantly flit or shiver. They are about 6 in. (14 cm) long. The male common redstart (P. phoenicurus) is gray, with a black face and throat and reddish breast. New World redstarts (genera Setophaga and Myioborus) are usually strikingly marked with black, white, and red.Common, or American, redstart (Setophaga ruticilla)(Top) Stephen DaltonNatural History Photographic Agency, (bottom) Hal H. Harrison from Grant HeilmanEB Inc.
* * *▪ Phoenicurusany of about 11 bird species of the Old World chat-thrush genus Phoenicurus (family Turdidae), or any of a dozen New World birds of vaguely similar appearance and behaviour. The Old World redstarts, 14 centimetres (5 1/2 inches) long, are named for their tail colour (Middle English stert, “tail”). They constantly flirt or shiver their tails and have flycatcher-like habits. The common redstart (P. phoenicurus) breeds across temperate Eurasia; the male is gray, with black face and throat, reddish breast, and red-brown tail.New World redstarts are woodwarbler (wood warbler)s (q.v.; family Parulidae). The common, or American, redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) breeds from Canada to the southern United States and winters in tropical America; the male is mostly black, with red wing and tail markings. Another strikingly marked form is the painted redstart (S. picta), found from southern Arizona to Nicaragua. Both sexes are primarily black, with large white patches on the wings and the sides of the tail and a bright red belly. Its grassy, cuplike nest is built on the ground, usually on a steep bank. Similarly handsome tropical forms are the 10 species of Myioborus, into which genus the painted redstart is now placed.
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