Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)


French: Rougequeue noir German: Hausrotschwanz Spanish: Colirrojo tizón

Motacilla Ochruros

S. G. Gmelin

, 1774,

mountains of northern Gilan, Iran


Has hybridized with P. phoenicurus. Proposed race aterrimus (Portugal, S & C Spain) merged with gibraltariensis. Races phoenicuroides and rufiventris intergrade, with birds from W China (S Xinjiang) named as race xerophilus probably intermediate between them; these taxa speculated to represent a separate species, but morphological differences not very strong and limited evidence suggests vocal homogeneity#R. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. o. gibraltariensis (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – Western Black Redstart – Europe (N to S Scandinavia, E to E Ukraine and W Turkey) and NW Africa; non-breeding S Europe and N Africa E to E Sudan, locally S to Sahel.
  • P. o. ochruros (S. G. Gmelin, 1774) – Eastern Black Redstart – Asia Minor (E from C Turkey), extreme SW Russia, Caucasus and NW Iran; non-breeding Middle East.
  • P. o. semirufus (Hemprich & Ehrenberg, 1833) – SE Turkey, W Syria, Lebanon and NE Israel, possibly N Iraq; non-breeding E of breeding range to Iraq, Iran and Oman.
  • P. o. phoenicuroides (F. Moore, 1854) – S Russia (Tuva Republic) and W & C Mongolia S to NE Iran (E Elburz Mts), SW Turkmenistan (Kopet Dag), Tien Shan, E, SE & S Kazakhstan, N Pakistan and NW India; non-breeding NE Africa, Arabian Peninsula and SW & S Asia.
  • P. o. rufiventris (Vieillot, 1818) – Pamir-Alai Mts of S Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan E through Himalayas to C China; non-breeding SW & S Asia.
  • Descriptive notes

    14–15 cm; 12–20 g. Male nominate race has slaty-grey crown to back, shading darker on wings, slaty-black face and underparts, with orange-rufous lower belly, rump... read more


    Song, by male (mainly spring, rarely in autumn and winter), a repeated phrase consisting of short... read more


    Sparsely vegetated rocky areas, including stony slopes with xerophytic vegetation, crags and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates and berries, switching proportions considerably. Invertebrates in diet include grasshoppers, earwigs, bugs, cockroaches,... read more


    Mid-Apr to mid-Jul in W Europe, up to 2 weeks later in E Europe; late Apr to Jun in Morocco; Apr–Jul in Israel; May–Aug in... read more


    Resident, partial migrant, vertical migrant and full migrant in different parts of range. Breeding... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. European population in mid-1990s estimated at 3,647,070–6,161,507 pairs (by far the greatest numbers in Germany), with additional 50,000–... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2019). Black Redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 9 December 2019).