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Slate-throated Redstart

Myioborus miniatus

Length: 6 inches Wingspan: 8.75 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Dark grayish upperparts, dark rufous crown. Red belly in north part of range, grading to yellow in far southern part

Slate-throated Redstart - Myioborus miniatusThe Slate-throated Redstart, also known as the Slate-throated Whitestart, is a songbird with a wide geographic range from northern Mexico southward through parts of South America.  In the United States, they are considered vagrants, although sightings have been relatively frequent and scattered across multiple states.  They have been seen most frequently in southeastern Arizona, but there are also several sightings in southern Texas.  In the northern part of the species' range, including those birds found in the U.S., Slate-throated Redstarts are characterized by a bold red belly. At the far southern end of their range in South America, the belly is yellow, with gradations of orange in between. A number of sub-species have been identified across their range, and there are some indications that birds currently labeled as Slate-throated Redstarts may indeed be multiple species.

Habitat: Found in a variety of temperate forests.  In the northern part of their range they are found in montane pine-oak forests.  In the far southern part of their range they are found in moist cloud forests of South America. While usually found in hilly or mountainous regions, some local populations may move to lower elevations for the winter.

Diet: Feeds on insects and spiders

Behavior: Feeds by hopping and flitting through vegetation, periodically stopping and fanning its tail.  The bird's movement flushes insects, which are then pursued and captured in flight.  They will also sometimes simply glean insects from foliage and branches of vegetation

Nesting: The nest is an enclosed cavity with a side entrance, typically built on a steep slope or in a protected area on the forest floor.  The female lays between 2 and 4 eggs, and she alone incubates them. The eggs hatch after about 13 days.

Song: The song of a Slate-throated Redstart is a variable, casual progression of high-pitched, thin warbling notes, usually variable in pitch.

Migration: Considered a permanent resident throughout their range, although some short-distance local movements may occur, such as birds moving to lower elevation for the winter.

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Slate-throated Redstart sightings

Similar Species: Most likely to be confused with Painted Redstart. The Slate-throated Redstart lacks the obvious white wing bars and white eye crescent of the Painted Redstart.

Conservation Status: Populations are relatively large, are found over a broad geographic area, and are considered stable.  The IUCN lists the Slate-throated Redstart as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) BirdLife International - Slate-throated Redstart

2) Whatbird - Slate-throated Redstart

3) Audubon Guide - Slate-throated Redstart

Photo Information: Photo taken on May 27th, 2014 -Cochise County, Arizona - Photo by Alan Schmierer - Public Domain image


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Slate-throated Redstart - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Slate-throated Redstart Photos (coming soon!!)