1st summer male Black Redstart

Bit o’ learnin’

As well as being really smart birds anyway their plumages are frequently intriguing; thinking of some of the red-bellied males, and Eastern Black Redstarts I have seen in the last couple of years. This bird was at Spurn on Sunday and Monday earlier this week, was once again interesting. The wings were mostly very brown and quickly aged the bird as a 2nd calendar year– the brown feathers being retained from juvenile plumage. However its head, mantle and underparts were very adult male-like. One extreme to the other. Thats would seem to make it a paradoxus‘ male. One showing adult make body plumage in its first year. So I have a question. if paradoxus‘ males are supposed to be much scarcer (10% or less of young males) why do I see them so often?

Thanks to Pete Wood and the N Wales guys for good company and some photos below:

2nd cy male Black Redstart, Spurn, 20 May 2012. Pete Wood

If interested this is what the bird had (some of which can be seen in pics)

All juvenile flight feathers

Outer 5 greater coverts old brown juvenile, inner 5 greater coverts adult ‘blue’ feathers. Though nevertheless the adult greater coverts still quite worn presumably having been moulted last summer/ autumn

Tertials old apart from one new (smallest ) tertials replaced with ‘adult blue’ feathers on each side (hard to see and quite worn).

Median and lesser coverts new blue feathers

Central pair of tail feathers (T1) old juvenile, rest of tail feathers renewed new  feathers

Some whitish on fringes of old juvenile inner secondaries just visible sometimes in field but normally hidden under greater coverts. Presumably a very weak  feature of what will be replaced by vivid white fringes in new ‘adult’ feathers.

2nd cy male Black Redstart, Spurn, 20 May 2012. MG

2nd cy male Black Redstart, Spurn, 20 May 2012. Pete Wood

2nd cy male Black Redstart, Spurn, 20 May 2012. MG

and in the hand


Thanks to Adam Hutt for sharing his ringing talent!


About Martin Garner

I am a Free Spirit
This entry was posted in Chats and Thrushes, Spurn. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 1st summer male Black Redstart

  1. Redstarts are such beautiful birds:)

  2. Pingback: Blues, Reds,Greens | Birding Frontiers

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