Phoenicurus phoenicurus - autumn

Common Redstart


Moult contrast present in the wing of 1cy, generally among inner GC. Adult birds show a uniform and freshly moulted plumage.

  • In males, worn juvenile outer GC with rusty-buff edges contrast to fresh post-juvenile inner GC showing slightly colder grey centra and paler cold grey edges. In females the contrast is usually less easily seen, but the inner post-juvenile GC show more fresh and olive-brown edges and a glossy dark (less brown) centre, in contrast to juvenile GC which has more worn and rusty-brown edges and a slightly paler brown centre. Most 1cy include only 1-3 inner GC in the post-juvenile moult, and the contrast is therefore often found in the inner part of the arm (sometimes scapulars need to be lifted). Rarely, no GC are included in the moult, and the contrast is then situated towards the post-juvenile MC (but is very difficult to discern).
  • On average, narrower and slightly more pointed RR than ad (and the degree of wear gives further clues as autumn progresses) but individual variation sometimes create more difficult cases.
  • Juvenile PC are generally less dense, more brownish worn and slightly narrower than in adult.
  • The tips of the juvenile PP gets more worn than in adult as autumn progresses.
  • Uniform and fresh wing lacking any moult contrast.
  • Whole wing and tail in better condition with denser feathers and better gloss.
  • Tips of RR generally blunter and broader.
  • Adult PC are generally fresh and dense, show more greyish edges (esp. males) and are often slightly broader than in juvenile.

1cy (male) September. Outer GC1-7 are unmoulted juvenile in contrast to the moulted post-juvenile inner GC showing grey centra and fresher and more greyish edges. [CV06351]

1 cy (male) August, showing variation (extent of moult is similar to the bird to the left). [CV05893]

1cy (female) September. Females are generally more difficult to assess since the post-juvenile GC are more similar to the juveniles ones. In this bird, GC1-8 are juvenile (more worn and rusty-brown edges and a browner and less glosy centre) in contrast to post-juvenile GC9-10 (more fresh and olive-brown edges and a slightly more greyish-brown centre with better gloss). [CV06563]

1 cy (female) September. Another female showing post-juvenile GC9-10, difficult to show properly in photo. While handling difficult birds, make sure to study the wing in different angles to the light. [CV06550]

2cy+ (male) August. Uniform and fresh wing with no contrasts. The centra and edges of the GC on the inner part of the arm are dominantly grey. Further out, the centra are slightly darker brown, and the grey along the edges are primarily seen on the basal half of the feather. [CV06066]

2cy+ (female) October. Adult females show a uniform wing in good condition, with no contrasts present, GC are evenly fresh, dense and slightly broader than juvenile feathers, and the edges are generally less rusty. [CV54043]

1cy (male) September. Juvenile PC are generally less dense, more brownish worn and slightly narrower than in adult. [CV06351]

1cy (female) September showing some variation in colour, shape and wear to the PC. [CV06550]

2cy+ (male) August. Adult PC are generally in better condition, being more more dense, slightly broader and and often slightly more greyish in colour. The outer edges are often greyish, esp. on the proximate part of the feather. [CV05892]

2cy+ (female) September, showing variation. Note that also adult female often show a somewhat greyish proximal edge to PC. [CP47936]

1cy (male) September. Juvenile TT are generally slightly more worn and loose in the texture. The centre is brownish and the edges are generally rather rusty (similar to the juvenile GC). [CV06351]

1cy (female) September, showing variation in the juvenile TT. [CV06563]

2cy+ (male) August. Adult TT are generally more fresh and dense. The centre is slightly more greyish-brown and the edges are less warm rusty. [CV06066]

2cy+ (female) October, showing the female version of fresh adult TT. [CV54043]

1cy (male) September. Tips of RR on average more narrow and pointed (but the difference is not always obvious). Wear will increase the juvenile impression with time. [CV06351]

1cy (female) September showing some variation in shape, wear and pattern. [CV06563]

2cy+ (male) August. Tips of RR on average more broad and blunt (and in better condition). The general feather structure is more dense. [CV05892]

2cy+ (female) October, showing some variation. [CV54043]

More Phoenicurus phoenicurus:

Sexing autumn and spring

Ageing spring

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