At 13?14 cm long and 10?18 g weight, the red-flanked bluetail is similar in size and weight to the common redstart and slightly smaller (particularly with a slimmer build) than the European robin. As the name implies, both sexes have a blue tail and rump, and orange-red flanks; they also have a white throat and greyish-white underparts, and a small, thin black bill and slender black legs. The adult male additionally has dark blue upperparts, while females and immature males are plain brown above apart from the blue rump and tail, and have a dusky breast.
Habitat and Distribution
It is a migratory insectivorous species breeding in mixed coniferous forest with undergrowth in northern Asia and northeastern Europe, from Finland east across Siberia to Kamchatka and south to Japan. It winters mainly in southeastern Asia, in the Indian Subcontinent, the Himalayas, Taiwan, and northern Indochina. The breeding range is slowly expanding westwards through Finland (where up to 500 pairs now breeding), and it is a rare but increasing vagrant to western Europe, mainly to Great Britain.
In behaviour, it is similar to a common redstart, frequently flicking its tail in the same manner, and regularly flying from a perch to catch insects in the air or on the ground.
Calls and Songs
The male sings its melancholy trill from treetops. Its call is a typical chat `tacc` noise. The nest is built on or near the ground, with 3?5 eggs which are incubated by the female.[