Redstart Bird (Passeriformes, Muscicapidae) with Non-Typical Plumage — Interspecific Hybrid or Eastern Subspecies in Fauna of Ukraine

H. V. Fesenko 1  and S. Yu. Shybanov 2
  • 1 Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology, NAS of Ukraine, vul. B. Khmelnytskogo, 15, Kyiv, 01030,Ukraine
  • 2 vul. Komandyra Yunina, 49, Dnipro City, 49114,Ukraine


A redstart male in plumage resembling that of the Common Redstart, Phoenicurus phoenicurus (Linnaeus, 1758), but with black throat extending downwards the central part of the breast was recorded in Dnipro City (Central Prydniprovia, i. e. Central Ukraine) in April, 2014. Song, calls and behavior of the male were typical of the Black Redstart, Phoenicurus ochruros (Gmelin 1774). The male was breeding with the Black Redstart female and successfully reared two nestlings. Both adults were captured and examined. The male with unusual colors of plumage exhibited strong resemblance to phenotype of males from the subspecies phoenicuroides of Black Redstart. Examination of specimens belonging to the subspecies in collection of Zoological Museum (NMHH of NAS of Ukraine) revealed that according to wingtip formula, the non-typical male is also similar to those of that race, in particular ones from Tyva (situated on border between the Upper Yenisei region and Mongolia). However, some plumage characters (signs of white color on emargination of outer web on some tertials and secondaries as trait of the subspecies gibraltariensis of the Black Redstart, as well as whitish belly and paler rufous color on lower breast and underparts as peculiarities of the Common Redstart) seem to indicate hybrid origin of the recorded male. The redstart male exhibiting both traits of the Common Redstart and Black Redstart was found for the first time in all period of expansion of gibraltariensis subspecies from west border of Ukraine eastwards and southwards.

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