The Enchanting Red-flanked Bluetail: A Jewel of the Forest

Welcome to our blog post dedicated to the Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus), a captivating bird known for its stunning colors and graceful presence. Join us as we delve into the enchanting world of this avian gem.

Field Identification

The Red-flanked Bluetail, scientifically known as Tarsiger cyanurus, is a small passerine bird renowned for its striking plumage. Males exhibit a deep blue upper body, contrasting with a vibrant red-orange throat and flanks. Their belly is pale and their tail feathers are edged in white. Females, although less vividly colored, still showcase a beautiful combination of brown, blue-gray, and pale orange.

Red-flanked Bluetail

Systematics History

The Red-flanked Bluetail belongs to the family Muscicapidae, which includes thrushes, flycatchers, and chats. Within this family, it falls under the genus Tarsiger, which comprises several species of bluetails.


The Red-flanked Bluetail has several recognized subspecies, each with slight variations in plumage and distribution. Some notable subspecies include Tarsiger cyanurus cyanurus, Tarsiger cyanurus grandis, and Tarsiger cyanurus pallidior.


The Red-flanked Bluetail is a migratory bird that breeds in the northern parts of Eurasia, including regions such as Siberia, Scandinavia, and the Russian Far East. During winter, it undertakes an incredible journey to its wintering grounds in South and Southeast Asia, including countries like India, Thailand, and Myanmar.


During the breeding season, Red-flanked Bluetails can be found in coniferous forests, particularly in areas with a dense understory and open clearings. They prefer habitats with a mix of trees, shrubs, and groundcover. During migration and winter, they inhabit a variety of forested habitats, including deciduous forests, scrublands, and even gardens.


Red-flanked Bluetails are known for their remarkable migratory journeys. They travel thousands of kilometers each year, crossing vast landscapes and encountering various climatic conditions. They navigate using celestial cues, landmarks, and their innate sense of direction to reach their breeding and wintering grounds.

Diet and Foraging

The diet of Red-flanked Bluetails primarily consists of insects and small invertebrates. They forage by hopping on the ground or low vegetation, frequently flicking their wings and tail. Their keen eyesight allows them to spot prey from a distance before darting in to capture it.

Sounds and Vocal Behavior

Red-flanked Bluetails have a melodious and complex song, consisting of rich, flute-like notes and trills. Males sing from exposed perches during the breeding season to attract mates and defend territories. They also produce soft contact calls and alarm calls to communicate with other individuals.

Breeding Habits

Red-flanked Bluetails are monogamous and form breeding pairs during the breeding season. The female constructs a cup-shaped nest made of grass, moss, and other plant materials, usually placed in a low shrub or on the ground. She lays a clutch of 4-6 eggs, which she incubates for about two weeks. Both parents participate in feeding and caring for the hatchlings.

Conservation Status

The Red-flanked Bluetail is currently classified as a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. However, like many migratory bird species, it faces threats such as habitat loss, deforestation, and climate change. Conservation efforts aim to protect their breeding and wintering habitats, raise awareness, and promote sustainable land-use practices.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q1: Are Red-flanked Bluetails common garden visitors?

A1: Red-flanked Bluetails are not commonly found in gardens, as they primarily inhabit forested areas. However, during migration, they may occasionally appear in gardens that are located along their migratory routes.

Q2: Can Red-flanked Bluetails be kept as pets?

A2: No, it is not recommended to keep Red-flanked Bluetails as pets. These birds are wild creatures that thrive in their natural habitats. It is important to respect their freedom and support conservation efforts to ensure their long-term survival.

Q3: Where is the best place to observe Red-flanked Bluetails?

A3: The best places to observe Red-flanked Bluetails are in their breeding habitats during the summer months. Countries such as Sweden, Norway, Russia, and other parts of Northern Eurasia offer opportunities to see these beautiful birds. Bird reserves, national parks, and forests are ideal locations for birdwatching.

Conclusion: The Red-flanked Bluetail, with its captivating colors and graceful presence, is a true jewel of the forest. Its migratory journeys, melodious songs, and exquisite plumage make it a favorite among bird enthusiasts. By understanding and appreciating these birds, we can contribute to their conservation and ensure that future generations can also experience the wonder of encountering these avian gems.

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