|Latin name:||Phoenicurus erythrogaster|
Appearance and behavior... The largest and most brightly colored redstart. Weight is 30–40 g, body length is about 18 cm. It predominantly rests on rocks and scree, is mobile, often twitches its tail.
Description... In addition to bright contrasting coloration, a distinctive feature of the male is a large white spot on the wing, belly, upper tail and tail are dark red. "Face", chest and back are black, the top of the head is white, in one-year-old males - with a dark bloom. The female is brownish-gray, differs from the female of the common redstart and nigella in the large size and intense red color of the upper tail and undertail, the middle of the belly is whitish, on the sides there is a red plaque, there is no white spot on the wing. Young birds in the nesting feather are similar to the female, but with buffy or reddish streaks below and the same edges on the flight feathers. Already in the nesting plumage, males have a white mirror on the wing, females do not. In autumn, all elements of the breeding coloration are muted by the grayish edges of the contour feathers. The tail in all outfits is bright red, with darkening on the middle pair.
Vote... The song is bright and beautiful, it consists mainly of whistling sounds, trills, with the inclusion of hoarse phrases. The cries of concern are similar to those of other redstart, but they are louder.
Distribution, status... Fragments of the nesting area are found in the high mountain ranges of the Caucasus, the Middle East, Central Asia and southern Siberia. In European Russia, it breeds in the North Caucasus. It hibernates within the nesting area, making only vertical migrations (from 900 to 3,000 meters above sea level).
Lifestyle... Nesting habitats are rocky outcrops and scree, mainly near watercourses or wet relief depressions. Nests are located in rock crevices, in niches and voids among stones. Nesting in stone buildings is known. Nesting material - moss, grass, there is a lot of wool and feathers in the tray. In clutch there are 3–6, usually 5 eggs, their color is white or bluish, with reddish or brownish sparse specks. Only female incubates clutch for 12–16 days, both adult birds feed chicks. Chicks leave the nest at the age of 12–15 (up to 21) days. Two successful broods are not uncommon during the season. It feeds and feeds chicks on insects and other small invertebrates, eats berries.
In the Northern Urals, a flight was registered Siberian, or daurian, redstartsPhoenicurus auroreus, the size and preferences are similar to the common redstart (redstart-coot), and the type of color is with the red-bellied redstart, but the male is less bright, with a grayish cap and not so extensive wing mirror (the mirror is also developed in the female). Breeds in Eastern and Southern Siberia, in the Far East.
Red-bellied Redstart (Phoenicurus erythrogaster)
External signs of the red-bellied redstart
The plumage of the red-bellied redstart is very bright. This bird species is noticeably larger than other representatives of this genus. The body length reaches 18-20 cm, the wingspan is 30-35 centimeters, the weight is about 50 g.
The legs of the bird are rather long. The feathers of the male on the back, head, throat, craw and on the chest above are black with a velvety shade. Wide white stripes are visible on the wings, the top of the head is also white.
The color of the lumbar region and tail is red, auburn or reddish-chestnut, which is observed in various subspecies of the redstart. Young redstarts and females are covered with gray-brown plumage with a light underside. The tail is red with a tinge of rust. Light streaks on a dark background of plumage stand out in young birds. The legs are quite long. The red-bellied redstart differs from the white-capped redstart in stripes on the wings.
Red-bellied redstart (Phoenicurus erythrogastrus).
Distribution of the red-bellied redstart
The red-bellied redstart is found in the alpine region of the Greater Caucasus, in Altai, including the Mongolian Altai, Gobi Altai, Tien Shan, Western Pamir, Eastern Pamir, as well as the Hindu Kush, Karakorum, Kunlun, Himalayas. The species is common in Tibet. The distribution border stretches from the north of Nanshan to the Sino-Tibetan mountains in the east. In the Himalayas, birds live at an altitude of 5600 meters.
Habitats of the red-bellied redstart
The red-bellied redstart adheres to habitats that are located in the upper belt of mountains, devoid of forest stands, at the very border of melting snows. In winter, the red-bellied redstart settles in thickets of bushes growing along the banks of mountain rivers. This bird species is quite numerous. Red-bellied redstarts live in the highlands of the tundra among the placers of stones.
The red-bellied redstart feeds on fruits and a variety of invertebrates.
Reproduction of the red-bellied redstart
The red-bellied redstart nests in the harsh conditions of the highlands, where the temperature remains below zero for a long time. Added to these conditions are the dryness of the climate and the lack of food. There are too few insects in the highlands, which serve as the main food for the red-bellied redstart. These factors affect the timing of breeding, which is one month late compared to the species in the plains.
VN Shnitnikov described the nesting conditions of the bird in the following way: "A desert mountainous landscape of some gorge or even a plateau at the top of a ridge with alpine vegetation of squat sparse bushes" nestling between stones and rubble covering the ground, scree, heaps of stones or individual boulders, rocky slopes or steep stone walls, spots of snow on the ground, temperature, every now and then - at the slightest cloudiness - approaching zero, snowstorms, hail or grains in the height of summer and an altitude of 3000-4000 m above sea level - these are the conditions, in which the big redstart builds its nest and brings up children. "
Already in March, when there is still snow on the mountain slopes, birds appear on their nesting sites.
The nest is placed in rocky crevices or gaps between stones, in abandoned buildings. The female lines it with wool of sheep, marmots. She lays eggs in June - July. One egg appears in the clutch every day. When 3-5 eggs are laid, covered with a white shell with reddish streaks, the female begins to incubate. Chicks hatch after 2 weeks. The male constantly keeps close to the nest, but does not incubate eggs. Both birds feed the offspring.
The Red-bellied Redstart nests in the harsh highlands.
Features of the behavior of the red-bellied redstart
Red-bellied redstarts are sedentary and nomadic birds. In early October, they roam the river valleys, going down the gorges.
The bird keeps singly or in pairs. Quite often, red-bellied redstarts sit on the tops of bushes or boulders, while slightly twitching their tail. The voice is clear. The song consists of a set of quiet chirping sounds that clearly mimic the voices of other birds. The flight of the red-bellied redstart is smooth. On the fly, birds can see black and wide wings with a noticeable white stripe located across.
In the nests of this species, the cuckoo parasitizes, laying its eggs. The color of the shell matches the color of the eggshell of the red-bellied redstart. There is a population of cuckoos that have adapted to parasitize in the nests of the red-bellied redstart, looking for them at an altitude of 3-4 km.
It is too difficult to observe the behavior of birds in extremely harsh conditions, even in summer.
Red-bellied redstart nutrition
The red-bellied redstart feeds on insects in summer and eats berries, in particular, sea buckthorn in winter.
Reasons for the low abundance of the red-bellied redstart
The main reasons for the low abundance of the red-bellied redstart are the limited nesting sites with high mountains covered with non-melting glaciers and snowfields and poor survival of chicks in low temperature conditions. Especially many chicks die in the post-nesting period due to the difficult climatic conditions and the lack of insects as the main food.
The red-bellied redstart is the largest representative of the genus.
Conservation measures for the red-bellied redstart
The red-bellied redstart is protected in the south of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. It is mentioned in the regional list of the Red Book as an extremely rare and unevenly distributed bird species. In nesting places located in hard-to-reach places, the red-bellied redstart is classified as a low-vulnerable species. No special security measures have been developed.
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