Phoenicurus is a genus of passerine birds in the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae, native to Europe, Asia and Africa. Along with three other closely related genera, they are named redstarts from their orange-red tails ('start' is an old name for a tail). They are small insectivores, the males mostly brightly coloured in various combinations of red, blue, white, and black, the females light brown with a red tail.[1] A molecular phylogenetic study published in 2010 led to a reorganization of the Old World flycatchers family in which the two species in Rhyacornis and the single species in Chaimarrornis were merged into Phoenicurus.[2][3]

Black Redstart I2 IMG 0862.jpg
Black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Subfamily: Saxicolinae
Genus: Phoenicurus
T. Forster, 1817

The genus Phoenicurus was introduced by the English naturalist Thomas Forster in 1817.[4][5] The name Phoenicurus is from Ancient Greek phoinix, "red", and -ouros -"tailed".[6]

The genus contains the following species:[3]

Fossil recordEdit

Phoenicurus erikai (Pliocene of Csarnota, Hungary).[7]Phoenicurus baranensis (Pliocene of Beremend, Hungary).[7]


  1. ^ Hoyo, J. del, et al., eds. (2005). Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 10. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. pp. 768–773. ISBN 84-87334-72-5.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Sangster, G.; Alström, P.; Forsmark, E.; Olsson, U. (2010). "Multi-locus phylogenetic analysis of Old World chats and flycatchers reveals extensive paraphyly at family, subfamily and genus level (Aves: Muscicapidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 57 (1): 380–392. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.07.008. PMID 20656044.
  3. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David (eds.). "Chats, Old World flycatchers". World Bird List Version 6.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  4. ^ Forster, Thomas (1817). A Synoptical Catalogue of British Birds. London: Nichols, Son, and Bentley. p. 53.
  5. ^ Mayr, Ernst; Paynter, Raymond A. Jr, eds. (1960). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 10. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Museum of Comparative Zoology. p. 74.
  6. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. p. 304. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4..
  7. ^ a b Kessler, E. (2013). "Neogene songbirds (Aves, Passeriformes) from Hungary". Hantkeniana. 8: 37–149.

Further readingEdit

  • Voelker, G.; Semenov, G.; Fadeev, I.V.; Blick, A.; Drovetski, S.V. (2015). "The biogeographic history of Phoenicurus redstarts reveals an allopatric mode of speciation and an out-of-Himalayas colonization pattern". Systematics and Biodiversity. 13 (3): 296–305. doi:10.1080/14772000.2014.992380.