Saturday, January 23, 2016

Saturday Sightings- The American Redstart

Happy Saturday Everyone!  We continue our blogs this week with another bird that can be found in our John E. Pearce Provincial Park.

This type of bird is a New World Warbler, unrelated to Old World redstarts, and it derives its name from the red tail of the males and the word “start” being an old word for tail.  Though not always the case, this species of New World warbler appears to be one that is the most stable and abundant.  The American redstart is a migratory bird, spending its winter in northern South America, the West Indies and Central America, often found in shade-grown coffee plantations in these areas, as well as spending time occupying shrubby areas along their journey.

These birds breed in open woodlands or scrub, usually near water and lay 2-5 eggs in a nest in the lower part of a bush.  The American redstart is mostly monogamous, but as many as 40% of offspring are not fathered by the male of the pair.  Males are very territorial and those that are superior occupy the best habitats, while those who are inferior occupy secondary habitats such as dry scrub forests verses moist mangroves. 
Redstarts eat almost only insects and catch them while in the air.  This species has been seen flashing the orange and yellow of their tails, on and off, to startle and chase insects from the underbrush as well, their diet consisting mainly of moths, flies, small wasps, spiders and aphids to name a few. 
Take care and have a great week ahead!

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