South Dakota
Birds and Birding
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American Redstart

Setophaga ruticilla

Length: 5 inches Wingspan: 8 inches Seasonality: Summer / Migrant
ID Keys: Male black with orange-red patches on wings, tail, and sides. Female plainer with yellow wing and tail patches.

American Redstart - Setophaga ruticillaAmerican Redstarts are one of the most common warblers to breed in the United States.   The male has a habit of "posing", spreading his wings and tail as if showing off its beautiful coloring, and is typically very active.  Males are much more brilliantly colored, with patches of orange-red on its black upperparts (photo to the right). Females are much more muted in color (see photos at bottom of the page).

Habitat: Prefers edges and clearings of deciduous to mixed forest, also riparian areas and isolated groves. 

Diet: Mostly insects, occasionally fruits and berries, seeds.

Behavior: Extremely active while foraging, flitting from location to location, actively clambering over vegetation and flying out to catch insects. 

Nesting: June and July

Breeding Map: Breeding bird survey map

Song: American Redstart Song, also American Redstart Call

Migration: Neotropical migrant, summering in the eastern and northern U.S. and Canada, wintering in Mexico, Central America, and South America.

Similar Species: Generally distinctive, especially males.

Conservation Status: Possibly showing slight declines.

Further Information: 1) USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter, American Redstart

2) Cornell University's "All About Birds - American Redstart"

3) American Redstart

Photo Information: June 3rd, 2007 - Newton Hills State Park in South Dakota -- Terry Sohl

Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or text links below for additional, higher-resolution American Redstart photos.


Click on the map below for a higher-resolution view
American Redstart - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Common migrant throughout the state.  Common breeder in the western part of the state, uncommon in the southeast and northeast corners of the state.