Reddish Vale Country Park


Length, 21cm.

Wingspan,  33-35cm.

Weight, 55-75g.

Average lifespan, up to 2yrs.

Wintering birds, 685,000, breeding pairs in the UK, 2-17,


Berries and worms. 

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The redwing is most commonly encountered as a winter bird and is the UK's smallest true thrush. Its creamy strip above the eye and orange-red flank patches make it distinctive.


They roam across the UK's countryside, feeding in fields and hedgerows, rarely visiting gardens, except in the coldest weather when snow covers the fields. Only a few pairs nest in the UK.


Redwing journey here non-stop from southern Scandinavia often in company with fieldfares and blackbirds. Many end the winter in Spain and Portugal. Others penetrate no further than south-west England and Ireland before returning to the continent the following March. Through the winter the birds remain highly mobile, ebbing and flowing in parallel with weather conditions.


Redwing display a remarkable lack of consistency in their wintering quarters. There are numerous recoveries of ringed birds which have spent one winter in this country, but were as far as Italy, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Georgia and even Iran in subsequent winters. Such recoveries reveal highly nomadic birds.


Redwing are among the least robust of thrushes and vulnerable to mass mortality when overcome by cold spells. If no berries remain, having been stripped earlier by blackbirds and mistle thrushes, they perish.


In open countryside it likes hedges and orchards as well as open, grassy fields. Will come to parks and gardens. Often joins with flocks of fieldfares.


Migrants arrive from September, with most in October and November. They leave again in March and April, although occasionally birds stay later.