|Conservation status||Still widespread and very common, but surveys suggest that numbers may be declining slightly.|
|Habitat||Second-growth woods, river groves. Breeds in open deciduous and mixed woodland, preferring edges of forests or second growth. Attracted also to roadside trees, shrubby and tree-lined stream banks, and ponds. Will nest in second-growth maples, birch, and aspen following fire in coniferous forests. In the Northwest, prefers willow and alder thickets. In winter in the tropics, found in lowland woods.|
Forages very actively, often flying out to catch insects in mid-air or hovering to take them from foliage. Flycatches much more than most warblers, drooping its wings, fanning its tail, and leaping high in the air. Males feed higher and make more mid-air sallies than do females early in the nesting season. Does not cling to tips of branches while hanging upside down as do many warblers. Holds large caterpillars and moths in the bill and bangs them on perch before eating.
4, sometimes 2-5. Off-white, with brown or gray marks. Incubation by female only, 11-12 days. Often parasitized by cowbirds. Young: Fed by both parents. Leave the nest at 9 days old. The parents divide the brood into 2 parts, each parent attending only half the fledglings. Normally 1 brood per season.
Fed by both parents. Leave the nest at 9 days old. The parents divide the brood into 2 parts, each parent attending only half the fledglings. Normally 1 brood per season.
Mostly insects. Feeds on a wide variety of insects including beetles, caterpillars, moths, leafhoppers, aphids, midges, crane flies; also spiders anddaddy longlegs. Also eats some seeds and berries.
Males sometimes mate with more than one female and raise 2-3 broods simultaneously. Males perform a frequent boundary display flight toward rivals, with stiffened wingbeats and a glide back to the original perch in a semicircle. Male displays to female during courtship by fluffing plumage, raising crown feathers, spreading wings and tail, and bowing. Nest site picked by female, usually in fork of tree, 4-70' above the ground; rarely on the ground. Open cup nest (built by female) of plant fibers, grass, rootlets, decorated with lichen, birch bark, and feathers; lined with feathers. Sometimes will use old nests of other birds.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Migrates mostly at night. Fall migration begins early, with many southbound in August. Small numbers of strays appear throughout the west, and a few may winter in southern California.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and Calls5 or 6 high-pitched notes or 2-note phrases, ending with an upward or downward inflection: chewy-chewy-chewy, chew-chew-chew.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the American Redstart
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the American Redstart
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.