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Redwing

Redwing Redwing Both Sexes
Brown upperparts, yellowish eyebrow, spotted breast and red flanks.
Distribution map - when and where you are most likely to see the species.
Turdus iliacus
Length: 21 cm  (8")
Wing Span: 33-35 cm  (13-14")
Weight: 55-75 g  (2-3 oz)
Breeding Pairs: < 60
Present: Winter
Status: Red
Description   Voice   Feeding   Nesting   Movements   Conservation   My Garden  
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Description

Redwings are smaller than the Song Thrush with red flanks and a prominent yellow stripe above each eye.

The upperparts are olive-brown, while the underparts are pale buff with dark spotting on the breast and belly. The flanks and underwing are reddish. Above each eye is a bold pale whitish or yellowish eyebrow (supercilium).

Juveniles have buff-coloured spots on the back.

In flight, the red underwing is most noticeable.

Voice

Choose from Quicktime and mp3. Flight Call Sub-song
  Quicktime mp3 Quicktime mp3

Flocks of Redwing can usually be heard, calling "tseep", on a winter's night as they migrate.

Their song is a variable warble, which we are unlikely to hear as so few breed in Britain, but their sub-song can sometimes be heard, particularly when in flocks.

Feeding

Redwings feed on insects, worms, snails and slugs, fruits and berries.

Soft fruit, especially fallen apples, and plants bearing berries, such as Hawthorn, may attract Redwings in to the garden.

Nesting

A few breed in Northern Scotland.

They nest in trees, bushes, tree stumps, and banks. The cup nest is made of twigs, grass, moss and lichen, and lined with mud and grass.

The female lays and incubates eggs that are smooth, glossy and light blue or greenish-blue with reddish-brown speckles. The eggs are about 26 mm by 19 mm. Both parents feed the young after they have hatched.

Breeding Data
Breeding Starts Number of Clutches Number of Eggs Incubation (days) Fledge (days)
April-May 2 2-8 11-16 10-15

Movements

The Redwing is a small winter visiting thrush from Scandinavia and Iceland, usually arriving in late September and staying until March-April.

The Scandinavian birds usually winter in southern Britain and the Icelandic birds in Scotland and Ireland - the Icelandic birds are slightly larger and darker than the Scandinavian birds.

Conservation

In the UK, the Redwing is a Red-listed species of conservation concern owing to the small number of breeding pairs.

My Garden

Graph of garden visits.

Redwings are not regular winter visitors to the garden but it is unusual for them not to be found in the local woods.

If they do visit the garden it is usually singly, though a small flock of up to twenty or so birds often rest in neighbouring trees.

The winter of 2002-2003 saw more Redwings in the area than in recent years but very few Fieldfares.


Last revision: 01 Jul 2010
Copyright © David Gains 1999-2014.
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