Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Blue-capped Redstart (Phoenicurus coeruleocephala)


French: Rougequeue à tête bleue German: Blaukopf-Rotschwanz Spanish: Colirrojo capiazul

Phœnicura coeruleocephala


, 1831,



Lack of red in male plumage implies most distinctive of redstarts, although suggestions that it merits placement in a separate genus are not supported by available genetic data; more research needed. Species name is noun phrase and thus invariable in gender; often listed as caeruleocephala (as in HBW) but original spelling must stand#R. Monotypic.


Tien Shan from SE Kazakhstan and W China (W Xinjiang) S to NE & E Afghanistan and E through W & C Himalayas to C Nepal, possibly also Bhutan; non-breeding at lower altitudes S of the breeding range.

Descriptive notes

c. 15 cm; 13–17 g. Male has greyish-blue crown to nape, shading to black upperparts, with bold white band from shoulder to tertials; black continuing onto face and... read more


Song, from lateral branch fairly high in tree, recalls that of Rock Bunting (Emberiza cia... read more


Breeds in open, relatively dry forests generally with little undergrowth, mainly pine-cypress (... read more

Food and feeding

Insects in summer; also occasionally berries and seeds. Moths and caterpillars seen brought to young. Feeds in typical redstart sally-to-... read more


May–Jun in Afghanistan and Tadjikistan; mid-May to end Jun/early Jul in Pakistan, May–Jul in Kashmir and Apr–Jul in Nepal... read more


Altitudinal migrant to outer foothills of Himalayas, but part of population stays close to breeding... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Fairly common in Afghanistan. Locally common in N Pakistan and E to N India; less common in Nepal. Uncommon in Tien Shan and Pamir-Alai.

Recommended citation

Collar, N. (2019). Blue-capped Redstart (Phoenicurus coeruleocephala). 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 6 December 2019).