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Black Redstart

Black Redstart

The Black Redstart is a winter visitor to the Island arriving during October and departing late March although some of the juveniles tend to stay a few weeks longer. This bird also overwinters in the south of France and also in Spain where it can be observed in cities such as Barcelona. In Mallorca, however, there are thousands which can be seen in many habitats and at an extremely close range. In the Boquer Valley they are extremely common alongside the many over wintering Robins but also they can be seen almost anywhere in Port de Pollença even on the seafront balconies of the hotels are the centre of bird tourism at La Gola. There are also very abundant in Pollena old town and on the mountain the Puig de Maria. On the islands of Cabrera and Dragonera they are also very abundant alongside both Robins and Song Thrushes also over wintering before migrating back to their breeding grounds in Northern Europe.

The Back Redstart (Phoenicurus ochuros) is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere but has its own subspecies in Europe with birds that breed in northern Europe mainly in mountain ranges but did adapt to derelict industrial sites after world war two. Until recently over 100 pairs bred in the UK but with all the housing and retail park development this population is under threat. The European population overwinters in southern Europe and a few in north Africa.

It is insectivorous mainly catching insects in the air but can be seen feeding on the ground especially in the winter and even on the coast looking for crustaceans. It is a hole nester in both its mountain sites and city buildings. It usually lays between five and eight eggs which are usually laid in May and incubated for 15-17 days and the young fledge about two weeks later.

Technical description

Black Redstarts are 13-14 cm in length the same as the Common Redstart. The Male is a striking bird with a grey back but with a striking black face and underparts. It has a red rump and its outer tail feather also red and a distinctive white patch on each wing. The female is a greyish brown with a red rump and tail and first year males very similar. I have often seen in early Spring at La Gola what appears to females fighting but they are in fact first year males.

Places the Black Redstart can be found at

Other birds that can be found in Mallorca