Fun American Redstart Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Chandan Shukla
American redstart facts are fun to read

The American redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) is a beautiful bird species and is a part of the wider group of wood warblers. Wood warblers are found in North and South America and are also known as New World warblers. American redstart birds are not related to the common or Old World redstart, which belongs to the genus Phoenicurus.

These birds are considered to be smaller warblers due to their size. Their appearance is quite bright and colorful, with distinct orange patches, which can be seen in both adult male and female birds.

They are also known to sing melodious songs like other species of warblers. These tunes are quite pleasing to hear.

Like many other North American birds, the birds that belong to this species are migratory in nature. They have different locations for breeding and spending their winters. Their breeding season is spent in Northern America, while they spend their winter in Southern America.

They like to build their nests where there are dense shrubs. Magnolia warblers are a similar species but have more yellow in their body; they also belong to the New World wood-warblers group.

Read on to learn more about the American redstart warbler. If you like this article, then check out our crowned eagle and secretary bird facts too.

American Redstart Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an American redstart?

American redstarts are a kind of bird. They are found in North America and South America.

What class of animal does an American redstart belong to?

These birds are part of the class Aves. They belong to the order Passeriformes, the family Parulidae.

How many American redstarts are there in the world?

American redstarts are not considered to be rare. Due to their wide geographic range, they are pretty commonly found. However, recently, there has been a decline in their numbers. This has led the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to show decreasing trends in their population.

Where does an American redstart live?

American redstarts are found in North and South America. They are found in North America during the breeding season in regions like Canada and in eastern regions of the United States. During winters, they migrate to Central America, northern South America, and the West Indies. It is rare, but some of these birds can also be seen in Europe.

What is an American redstart's habitat?

The American redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) bird's habitat mainly consists of forests. During the breeding season, these birds are seen near water in deciduous forests, forest edges, and second-growth forests.

Second-growth forests are characterized by trees that have re-grown after a harvest has taken place. During the winter season, they are more likely to be found in shrubby habitats which are dense in nature.

Who do American redstarts live with?

American redstarts are known to live in social hierarchies. Older male American redstarts hold the top position in these pecking orders.

However, due to their highly territorial nature, more than two male birds are not often seen in one place. There is no specific collective noun for a group of American redstarts, but a group of warblers can be referred to as a 'confusion', 'fall', 'bouquet', or 'wrench'.

How long does an American redstart live?

The oldest American redstart known on record was 10 years of age. Some female redstarts live up to the age of five. However, they are a vulnerable species, as they have a lot of predators in the wild. Some of their predators are ravens, red squirrels, blue jays, cats, black bears, and more.

How do they reproduce?

This species of bird is monogamous in nature. During the breeding season, an American redstart male is known to chase a potential mate, then fluff its feathers and bow down in order to attract the female.

Once they have found their mate, the two look for the right nesting site. The potential site for their nest is selected by the female American redstart. Females lay two to five eggs.

These American redstart eggs are white or cream-colored, and the eggs can also have brown specks on them. After incubating the eggs for 10-13 days, the eggs hatch, and offspring are born.

What is their conservation status?

 The conservation status of the American redstart bird has been listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). These birds are found in several North American as well as South American regions. However, their population has faced a decline.

This is mainly attributed to habitat loss. They are also negatively affected by climate change. Protecting their habitat is an efficient way of securing their population.

American Redstart Fun Facts

What do American redstarts look like?

American redstart males and females differ in their appearance. Male American redstart wings have orange patches, while the wings of female birds are dark gray.

Males are seen with black upper parts, and the female's upper back region appears gray. For males, both their belly and the lower parts of their tails are white. In some females, it can be lighter gray.

American redstart birds belong to the Aves family.

How cute are they?

The American redstart bird is quite cute. They are a smaller species of warbler, and their distinctly colored plumage and beautiful wings and tail make them appear quite adorable.

How do they communicate?

American redstarts have a variety of ways through which they communicate with each other. Their communications are done through visual and acoustic methods. The American redstart sound is different depending on the situation.

Males have different songs for when they are defending their territory or when they are trying to attract a mate. Their calls can be 'tsip' sounds, 'chip' notes, or high-pitched notes to alarm others of danger and intrusion. Both males and females also extend their heads forward and droop their wings when faced with an intruder.

How big is an American redstart?

When it comes to size, redstarts are a small species. Their body length ranges between 4.3-5.5 in (11-14 cm).

Additionally, they have a wingspan that measures about 6.3-9.1 in (16-23 cm). They also have a pretty long tail that is 1.9-2.3 in (4.9-5.8 cm) long. The Louisiana waterthrush bird belongs to the same family as the American redstart, and the wings and tail of the Louisiana Waterthrush are slightly longer in comparison.

How fast can an American redstart fly?

The flight speed of these birds is not known. However, they capture insects while they are in flight, which is quite unique. Males are also known to fly in short and deliberate circles when pursuing each other.

How much does an American redstart weigh?

Being a small warbler species, these birds are not very heavy. Their weight ranges from 0.2-0.3 oz (6-9 g). An American redstart female is generally lighter than its male counterpart.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Males belonging to this species are known as male American redstart birds, while females are known as female American redstart birds.

What would you call a baby American redstart?

A baby American redstart is known as a chick or nestling. They can also be referred to as juvenile American redstart birds.

What do they eat?

These birds predominantly prey on insects. Some of the common insects which they prey on include beetles, caterpillars, flies, spiders, moths, and so on. They also feed on certain fruits and berries occasionally.

They can also eat other non-insectivorous arthropods. American redstarts show high energy levels when it comes to foraging. They are also highly adaptable to various kinds of foraging habitats, vegetations, and more.

Are they aggressive?

They are somewhat aggressive in nature, and older males are pretty territorial (they can be quite aggressive towards younger males). Since female birds have similar plumage to younger males, there is often aggressive behavior between adult males and females at the beginning of any encounter. These birds are not known to be hostile toward humans.

Would they make a good pet?

American redstart birds are not commonly kept in captivity. However, if you plant berry or fruit plants in your backyard, these birds might be attracted to that food and may pay you a visit.

Did you know...

The scientific name of this bird 'ruticilla' can be translated to 'redstart' in New Latin. In Old Latin, 'rutilus' means 'red' and in New Latin, 'cilla' means 'tail'.

The American redstart song usually has one or two phrases, which are repeated. However, sometimes the songs can have up to eight kinds of phrases.

Since older male birds are more dominant in nature, they live in a habitat with a greater abundance of food, like mangrove forests, while female and younger male birds are restricted to scrub habitats with lesser food resources.

What is another name for the American redstart?

The American redstart is known by more than one name. In some places, these birds are known as 'latrine birds' due to their habit of foraging garbage dumps and outhouses in search of flies.

Another common name used locally is 'Christmas bird'. This can be attributed to their plumage which looks ornamental. It may also be due to the fact that they are seen during Christmas in some particular regions.

Most famously, this species is known as the 'butterflies of the bird world', due to their tendency to spread their wings and tail to resemble a butterfly. They also flutter their wings like butterflies.

Where do American redstarts hunt in the tropics?

In the tropics, these birds hunt for flies around garbage cans and around various outhouses. This is the reason they are also called 'latrine birds'. They use their colored tail to startle any insect prey, and following this, they capture the insects aerially.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the botfly, or the garden spider.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our american redstart coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Chandan Shukla

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Chandan Shukla picture

Chandan ShuklaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

With a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Aryabhatta College, University of Delhi, Chandan is a skilled and passionate technophile. He has completed a machine learning training program and is adept in various programming languages. He has been working as a content writer for two years while also striving to become a proficient tech professional.

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