Black Redstart

Black Redstart  Phoenicurus  ochruros

Etymology :

  • Phoenicurus : Greek word  phoinix –crimson, red, purple;   ouros-tailed
  • Ochruros: Greek word  okhrospale yellow;  ouros-tailed

Vernacular Names: Hindi: Thirthira, Thirthir-kampa, Pun: Kala thirthara, Ben: Phirira, Lal-girdi, Munda: Kankal, Ladhak: Sin-tick, Guj: Thartaro, Te: Nunebundigadu, Mar: Kala Thirthira

Distribution in India: Widespread winter visitor across the country.

Description: Size of 14-15cm. Male has slaty-grey crown to back, shading darker on wings, slaty-black face and underparts, with orange-rufous lower belly, rump and outer tail, central tail feathers slaty-black; bill and legs blackish. Female is mouse-grey, browner on cheeks and ear-coverts, darker on wings, underparts buffish to orange-buff on vent and under tail-coverts, tail as male.

Habitat:  It is found in Sparsely vegetated rocky areas, including stony slopes with xerophytic vegetation, crags and in high river valleys, rocky mountain tops up to snow-line

Food Habits:  It eats Invertebrates and berries, switching proportions considerably. Invertebrates in diet include grasshoppers, earwigs, bugs, cockroaches, adult and larval lepidopterans, flies, ants, bees and wasps, adult and larval beetles, spiders, woodlice, millipedes, small molluscs and earthworms. Fruit and seed material includes juniper, docks and knotweed, cress, strawberry, cherry, pea,mulberry .Also eats Aloe nectar in winter.

Breeding Habits: They breed in May-Aug. The nest a loose cup of grass, moss, hair, wool and feathers, placed in crevice of wall or rock, or in earth bank, pile of stones or on ground. They lay a clutch of 4–6 eggs, incubation period is 2 weeks; nestling period 12–17 days, but young often flightless for several days after leaving nest; post-fledging dependence as short as 11 days.