- ORDER: Passeriformes
- FAMILY: Parulidae
A bit of a show-off, the scarlet-bellied Painted Redstart constantly flashes its black-and-white wings and fans its tail while foraging. As it hops and pivots along tree branches, startled insects flush out of their hiding places, whereupon the redstart snatches them up in its bill. Despite such conspicuous plumage and behavior, this warbler of montane pine-oak forests of the southwestern United States and Mexico is typically heard before it is seen. Unlike many other warblers, males and females look the same and females sometimes sing.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Painted Redstarts are showy birds that are relatively easy to hear and see in shady canyons of the southwest U.S. and Middle America. Look for white flashes as they flick their wings and tail while foraging along tree branches. Their song is distinctive, and their call even more so, resembling the distinctive flight call of a Pine Siskin. In the U.S., a classic place to look for Painted Redstarts is in Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains.
- Candelita Aliblanca (Spanish)
- Paruline à ailes blanches (French)
Painted Redstarts are attracted year-round to sugar-water feeders (such as hummingbird feeders). In winter, they sometimes eat peanut butter and suet mixtures.
- Cool Facts
- Like other "redstarts" in its genus, the Painted Redstart flashes its white wing patches and outer tail feathers when foraging. These actions appear to flush insects that the redstart then pursues. Researchers who were hand-raising a nest of Painted Redstarts noticed that the nestlings began fanning their tails before their third week, when their tails were not yet fully grown.
- Tail fanning is also used in courtship and later in the breeding cycle as a signal for newly fledged young birds, perhaps to keep them aware of their parents’ locations.
- Despite its common name, the Painted Redstart is not particularly closely related to the American Redstart. Other members of the Myioborus genus, common in the Neotropics, are sometimes known as "whitestarts" to distinguish them. The name "redstart" originates with a number of European thrush species with bold reddish tail patterns.
- The oldest recorded Painted Redstart was a male and at least 6 years, 7 months old, when he was recaptured during banding operations in Arizona.