AMERICAN REDSTART – (Setophaga ruticilla)
The American redstart is a warbler with a unique plumage color in the breeding male – orange spots on the tail and the wings with an otherwise black plumage, except for a white belly. The female has yellow spots where the male has the orange ones, white-grey under parts and grey-green upper parts. This bird is rather small at 14 cm (5 in.) with a third of this length for the tail alone.
The flashy plumage of this species of warbler is apparently used by the bird to startle their prey, which they catch as the insects try to flee. Their breeding range habitat overlaps with other warbler species. They are mainly found in the lower parts of trees and shrubs.
The American redstart breeds in PEI and is very common. It migrates mainly to Central and northern South America and lives in a similar wooded habitat.
Conservation: This bird is part of what is called the ‘coffee bird’ group, a number of species that are impacted in their wintering range by farming practices of coffee growers. Measures are now being taken to preserve the habitat of those species of birds with more sustainable coffee growing practices while preserving profitability for the farmers.