Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small North American bird (Setophaga ruticilla), the male of which has black plumage with orange patches on the wings and tail.
  • n. A European bird (Phoenicurus phoenicurus) having grayish plumage and a rust-red breast and tail.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various insectivorous ground feeding birds, mainly of the genus Phoenicurus. Many of the species have a red tail.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small, handsome European singing bird (Phoenicurus phoenicurus, formerly Ruticilla phoenicurus), allied to the nightingale; -- called also redtail, brantail, fireflirt, firetail. The black redstart is Phoenicurus ochruros (formerly Phoenicurus tithys), and is now rare and protected by law in England. The name is also applied to several other species of Ruticilla and allied genera, native of India.
  • n. An American fly-catching warbler (Setophaga ruticilla). The male is black, with large patches of orange-red on the sides, wings, and tail. The female is olive, with yellow patches.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One of several entirely different birds which have the tail more or less red.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. European songbird with a reddish breast and tail; related to Old World robins
  • n. flycatching warbler of eastern North America the male having bright orange on sides and wings and tail

Etymologies

red + obsolete start, tail (from Middle English stert, from Old English steort; see ster-1 in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
red +‎ start (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The erithacus (or redbreast) and the so-called redstart change into one another; the former is a winter bird, the latter a summer one, and the difference between them is practically limited to the coloration of their plumage.

    The History of Animals

  • The redstart is the most active of the active warblers, and the number of gnats, flies, caterpillars, moths, other insects and their eggs that these birds consume or feed to their nestlings in one day is incredible.

    Ohio Arbor Day 1913: Arbor and Bird Day Manual Issued for the Benefit of the Schools of our State

  • The statement that the redstart is a mimic is to be met with in many books about birds.

    Afoot in England

  • There are cliff-nesting martins at Malham too, and you may be lucky and spot a green woodpecker, redstart or little owl.

    A woolly Pullman from the textile heartland

  • A black redstart: a bird whose natural habitat is rocky hillsides, but which in Britain is often seen around industrial sites like this one.

    Birdwatch: Black redstart

  • But the best moment of the day was still that momentary yet intimate encounter with the black redstart, perched against a backdrop of rocks, sea and a nuclear power station.

    Birdwatch: Black redstart

  • This redstart was quivering its tail on the worn carpet of lichen that covered the top of the stone wall at Kennaby.

    A Year on the Wing

  • The numbers were smaller over the two magic days of 2007, when I saw only one ring ouzel and that single redstart, but the island was still strewn with birds: there were thrushes all up the cliffs, robins along the stone walls.

    A Year on the Wing

  • The robin ticks on, bringing the winter around, sending the redstart off, proving Aristotle wrong, proving him right.

    A Year on the Wing

  • The only birds that do it are the redstart species and the closely related rock thrushes.

    A Year on the Wing

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  • Another word that can be typed with only the left hand on a qwerty keyboard.

    January 4, 2009

  • (n): In French cuisine (formerly), a passerine bird (Rouge-Queue) prized as game for their delicate taste, and prepared in the same way as a lark: i.e., slit up the back, deboned, stuffed with pâté or forcemeat, and baked; made into a pâté; baked in a casserole, or in bread crusts stuffed with a slice of truffle; in a risotto or pressed into a bowl of cheesy polenta, covered with melted butter and baked; or simply flattened, lightly fried in butter, placed on a slice of bread, and covered with a champagne and demi-glace sauce.

    January 4, 2009