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Bird Identification

American Redstart

Setophaga ruticilla Length: 5.25"

Look For

It's hard to mistake the male American Redstart for anything else. Females and young (first-year) males are gray-green overall with bright yellow patches at the shoulders, wings, and tailbases. Like many other warblers, the redstart is active when foraging, flitting from branch to branch, often opening its wings and tail.

Listen for

American Redstarts have a highly variable song. Sometimes it's see-see-see-me-up here! Other times it's weeta-weeta-weeta-weet-zeet! Often they sing one song and then the other. Call note is a clear, sweet tchip!


You might almost confuse the male American Redstart with a miniature version of an Orchard or Baltimore Oriole, but those birds are much larger than the redstart.

Find it

Redstarts prefer young woods and scrubby woodland edges for breeding and foraging. They are active singers and foragers, often zipping out from the treetops to catch a flying insect.


In Latin America, where the American Redstart spends its winters, this species is called Candelita, the little torch.

This profile is an excerpt from The Young Birder's Guide by Bill Thompson, III. Purchase an autographed copy from our nature store, and check out other BWD titles designed to help you identify backyard birds.

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