Phoenicurus phoenicurus - sexing autumn and spring

Common Redstart


After completion of post-juvenile moult, readily sexed based on the colouration of throat, forehead and breast. Svensson (1992) gives some guidance on how to separate the (very) exceptional females that may approach a male-like pattern. Two odd females are shown below.

Male, 1cy, September. Young males are somewhat variable, and the black chin/throat and white forehead are largely concealed by pale buffish tips. Separating the feathers will reveal the basal feather colour, and by spring the buff tips have worn off. [CV06315]

Male, 1cy, August. Another young male, showing some traces of black (ear-c and chin) and white (forehead) under the buffish tips. Some young males are more developed than this, but they never match the jet-black lores seen in adult male. [CV05893]

Male, 2cy+, September. The tips to the black face/chin/throat feathers are white, finer and more sparse than in young birds. Hence, the black face is better developed, esp. around the lores. [CP47885]

Female, 2cy+, October. Typical female showing greyish-brown forehead and a buff chin/throat (without any white or black in the feather bases). Note also the warm buff breast, colder than the lively orange breast seen in males. [CV54043]

Male, 2cy, April. By spring, the buff feather tips have worn away, revealing the underlying black and white facial patterns of the males. [CV02482]

Female, 3cy+, May. Adult female retain the descreet and inconspicuous plumage also in spring. Some birds, however, show a slightly warmer breast. [CR64125]

Odd female, 2cy, May. Rarely, females develop darker patterns in the chin/throat/ear-c, but such markings are often irregular in shape and seldom jet-black as in males. [CP45893]

Odd female, 2cy, May. Same individual. Note that this bird also show some white feathering in the forehead. [CP45893]

Odd female, 3cy+, May. Another female showing dark pattern in chin/throat/ear-c. [CN93675]

More Phoenicurus phoenicurus:

Ageing autumn

Ageing spring

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