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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki. Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Red-flanked Bluetail

Tarsiger cyanurus

  • Name also: Orange-flanked Bush-robin
  • Family: Flycatchers – Muscicapidae
  • Appearance: Resembles Robin in size and behaviour. Birds in all plumages have a blue tail, orange flanks and a clearly defined white throat patch.
  • Size: Length 13–14 cm, weight 10–18 g.
  • Nest: In a hole in the ground beneath a tree root, made of straw, moss and conifer needles.
  • Breeding: 5–7 eggs laid in June, incubated by female for 15 days. Fledglings remain in nest for 15 days.
  • Distribution: Scarce breeder in Eastern Lapland and around Kuusamo and Kuhmo. Range gradually expanding further westwards. Thrives in undisturbed moist and hilly spruce forests. First observed in Finland only in 1949. Breeding numbers vary greatly, but Finnish breeding population generally estimated at between 150 and 6,500 pairs.
  • Migration: Details of migratory behaviour unclear, but generally seen in Finland from May to September. Winters in SE Asia.
  • Diet: Invertebrates.
  • Calls: A harsh “tek-tek”. Song not unlike song of Redwing, short and cheerful, lasting less than two seconds.
  • Endangerment: Near threatened, protected in Finland. Globally Least concern.

Red-flanked Bluetails resemble Redstarts in size and shape. Birds in all plumages can be identified by the blue colouring on the tail and rump (though this may not be so evident in all conditions), orange patches on flanks and a clearly defined white throat patch. Males in summer plumage also have blue colouring on their heads, backs and wings. In autumn plumage they resemble females more, but still keep some blue markings on their upper backs. Females are more modestly coloured, with olive brown upper parts (similar to Robin), yellowish white throats, and greyish breasts and bellies. Females also have pale rings around their eyes. Birds in all plumages have dark brown legs and irises, and black beaks.

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