Redstart by Turck, 1883
Redstart by Eliza Turck, for W. Swaysland's Familiar Wild Birds, 1883.
The common redstart, or just redstart, is a small passerine bird of the flycatcher family, Musicapidae. Redstarts used to be regarded as members of the Thrush family Turdidae. It belongs to the true redstart genus of Phoenicurus. The other three genera are Charmarronis, Rhyacornis, and Hodgsonius. Currently, the common redstart's binomial name is Phoenicurus phoenicurus, but in Swaysland's book it is classified as Phoenicura ruticilla and Sylvia phoenicurus. The name redstart refers to their red-orange tails (start is a modern adaptation of the middle english word stert, which meant tail).
Common redstarts winter in central Africa and Arabia, but migrate north to Europe in the spring to breed, remaining there until the end of summer. It is similar in behavior and size to the European Robin. The common redstart averages between thirteen to fourteen and a half centimeters in size and weighs between eleven to twenty-three grams. Females are more brown in color, with a whitish throat and red tail. Her tail is not as bright as the male's. The male has a slate gray head and upper body, with a bright red-orange belly and tail. He also has a white forehead, which the female does not. They are insectivores and prefer to live in open woodland areas.
Eliza Turck (1832-1891) was an English artist and author. She painted a wide variety of subjects, including birds, literary subjects, and miniatures. Her mother was her first instructor, then in 1848 she studied at Cary's School of art for six months. This was followed by painting lessons from William Gale. In 1852, she attended the Female School of Art for a year. This was followed by fourteen months at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium from 1859 to 1860. Turck exhibited her work at a number of important venues, including the Royal Academy (since 1854), the 1871 International Exhibition, and the Rogers Gallery (1879). In addition to painting, she was also an illustrator. In 1883, Turck provided a number of illustrations for Swaysland's Familiar Wild Birds, which was published in four volumes. Redstart is from volume one.
- Naomi Bean