Wednesday, October 5, 2011

#72 Field Tip.... The Warbler that acts like a Flycatcher

The American Redstart is the most active of our wood warblers, with boundless energy, hovering, flitting about with wings half open, pirouetting,  conspiciously fanning its tail, flashing its bright colors (orange in males, yellow in females) as it darts from limb to limb, all in an effort to flush potential prey.

The way it acts while foraging could be interpreted as flycatching, and this is not the only unique feature of the American Redstart. It also has long rictal bristles at the base of the broad bill, suggestive of a flycatcher. These bristles act as sensors to help the bird catch flying insects and protect the eyes from debris and damage.
photo © adrian binns

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