basic information

Black Redstart

Phoenicurus ochruros (S. G. Gmelin, 1774)

Горихвостка-чернушка | Қошқыл қызылқұйрық

South Kazakhstan
© Gennadiy Dyakin


The Black Redstart is similar on Eurasian Redstart but distinguished from it by much of black in plumage. The male Black Redstart is distinguished from male Eurasian Redstart by the blackish-grey or black mantle and by much of black on underparts; the black color disperse to the breast's bottom; flanks and abdomen are orange (in European subspecies) or black (in Turkestan subspecies). The female doesn't have rufous color on the breast and flanks; it have brownish-grey color. The juveniles in first plumage are similar on female but have the well expressed dark borders on the upperparts. The juveniles are distinguished from the juveniles of Eurasian Redstart by the darker color and by the absent of light spots on upperparts. The tail on all plumages is red as on Eurasian Redstart. Weight 11-20 gr, length about 15, wing 7.8-8.5, wingspan 23-26 cm.


Black Redstart breeds in mountains of Eastern and South-Eastern Kazakhstan. Also breeds in some places of Kazakh Upland. On migration occurs in eastern part of Kazakhstan, in December 2009 one bird was observed in Naurzum Reserve. Please see the detailed distribution in Kazakhstan in the chapter "Subspecies".


The Black Redstart is common, in places rare breeding migrant. It inhabits the dry rock slopes in the forest belt on 1400-2100 m in Altai and on the dry slopes with the meadow or bushes over the forest belt at 2700-2800 m in Western Tien Shan. It lives on the not hight attitudes only in Central Kazakhstan where the mountains are not higher than 2000 m. On migration it visits the low mountains, the riparian and saxaul forests, the reed-beds, the forest-belts, the groves and gardens. It appears in mid - end March, and in mid-April – early May in highlands. It breeds in separate pairs. The nest is built on the ground under the stone, in the cliff cracks, or in the constructions from the dry grass and is lined with the feathers. Clutches of white (sometimes blue tinged) 4-5 eggs is in mid-May - early July. Both parents feed juveniles fledged in mid-June – end July. Some pairs rear two broods per year. The autumn dispersal starts in August, majority of the birds migrate in September - early October, the latest migrants recorded in early November.


Phoenicurus ochruros phoenicuroides (Horsfield et Moore, 1854)

    Description. On males the top of the back, shoulders and sometimes the nape is black. The black color of the back can have a different degree of development, up to a completely black back in the southern populations. In front black color disperse to the breast's bottom; abdomen, flanks and undertail are orange; white panel on the wing is absent.
    Distribution. Breeds in highlands of Tien Shan (possibly also in Karatau and Chu-Iliyskiye mountains), in Dzhungarskiy Alatau, Monrak and Saur, in Kalbinskiy Altai, in Kokon Mts., Chingiztau, Kyzylray and Byurtas, and also in Ulytau mountains. It probably lives in the area adjacent to Balkhash lake from north (Bektauata, rocks on Balkhash coast). On migration it can be encountered in the eastern regions of Kazakhstan, in the west occasionally up to Kurgaldzhino Reserve, Syrdarya valley at Dzhulek and on Ustyurt.

Phoenicurus ochruros murinus (Fedorenko, 2018)

    Description. Distinguished from the Turkestan subspecies Ph. o. phoenicuroides by uniform dark grey color the males head, nape and the back. The shoulders are black. In front, the black color also disperse to the breast's bottom; abdomen, flanks and undertail are orange; white panel on the wing is absent.
    Distribution. Inhabits the mountain ranges of the South-West Altai.

Phoenicurus ochruros gibraltariensis (J.F.Gmelin, 1789)

    Description. Males don't have rusty color on underparts, all underparts are dark-grey, with the exception of the undertail. White outer webs of secondaries and tertials formed white panel on the furled wing. However, this speculum may be variable in size, and even lack.
    Distribution. In Kazakhstan nesting was found in 2016 in the northern part of the Kostanay region (near the Karabalyk village). Since 2007 migrating birds regularly recorded in Mangayshlak peninsula, Northern Trans-Caspian area, and occasionally in Northern Kazakhstan (Naurzum), Central Kazakhstan (Kurgaldzhino) and Southern Kazakhstan.


В.К.Рябицев. "Птицы Урала, Приуралья и Западной Сибири". Екатеринбург, Изд-во Уральского университета, 2000.
Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005.
Э.И.Гаврилов. "Фауна и распространение птиц Казахстана". Алматы, 1999.
Федоренко В.А. 2018. Новый подвид горихвостки-чернушки – Phoenicurus ochruros murinus subsp. nov. из Алтайско-Саянской горной страны и актуальный ареал горихвостки-чернушки. Труды Зоологического института РАН. Том 322, № 2: 108–128.



Phoenicurus ochruros phoenicuroides
(Horsfield et Moore, 1854)
Phoenicurus ochruros murinus
(Fedorenko, 2018)
Phoenicurus ochruros gibraltariensis
(J.F.Gmelin, 1789)

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