Caught by the River

Matt's Mysterious Bird of the Week Identified

Matt Sewell | 14th February 2010

Thanks to everyone who wrote in to help solve the issue of Matt’s unidentified bird.

It seems that Matt was wrong to doubt it being a Redstart. Both Ceri Levy and Jim from Birdlife International came back with Black Redstart, pointing out that it would definitely be in Hove at this time of the year. Craig Chambers chipped in with Female Eversmann’s Redstart (Phoenicurus erythronotus) but I think the final word should come from Gemma Rogers and Richard James at the RSPB. Gemma was contacted by cbtr reader Cathy Olmedillas, from Anorak magazine, and they kindly sent us this reply;

Hello Cathy, your email has been passed to me by Gemma Rogers.

I think this is a female black redstart. I know this was considered and
didn’t quite match in the bird books but this is the closest to the
picture. The only other two similar birds we could get in the UK are
nightingales and redstarts but they are only here in the summer. Black
redstarts are often found along the south coast in towns. They are also
robin like in shape so the description and picture are a good match.

I can’t really explain the pinkish feathers though. This could be due to
wear and tear or just down to the light they were seen in. Any
artificial light or shading could make it look different to the books.

Best wishes

Richard James
Wildlife Advisor

On behalf of Matt, I thank you all and on behalf of Big Chief I-Spy, I award you 50 points.