The Kennedy Wild Bird Food Guide to the Redwing

The redwing is a British bird (the smallest thrush bird in the UK) that is commonly found here throughout the winter months. Chances are, you’ve spotted one in your local park or garden, and might have even heard its distinctive song before.

Discover all there is to know about this beautiful bird, from its red-listed status to how to attract a redwing to your garden.

What does the redwing look like?

The redwing gets its name from – you guessed it – it’s red wing! This beautiful bird has a white and brown spotted chest, but it’s the distinctive red/orange strip running through its wings that make it easily identifiable.

We often get asked ‘is this bird a fieldfare or a redwing?’ as the two are very similar in appearance. Along with its red strip, the redwing can also be identified by the cream strip that sits above its eye. Take a look below – and at our guide to the fieldfare – to see the difference for yourself!

This thrush bird is relatively small, with a length of around 21cm and a wingspan of around 33cm. Both female and male redwings are similar in appearance.

redwing bird uk

The redwing’s song

This delightful bird’s song is a cheerful chirp that you’ve probably heard in your garden before. Have a listen to the clip below to see if you recognise it!

The redwing’s habitat, behaviour and migration

What do redwings eat?

The redwing is known to eat a wide range of insects. Including worms, as well as berries when available. They also love plain bird seed (as do most wild birds). Plain bird seed is a great choice if you’re looking to attract a wide range of wild birds into your garden!

Where can I find the redwing in the UK?

The redwing’s habitat depends on the time of year. During winter, the bird can be found all across the UK along with Southern and Eastern parts of Europe. In the summer months, they’ll travel further north but you might be lucky enough to spot a redwing in the Scottish highlands!

They are known to breed in northern regions of Europe and Asia, including Northern Scotland, Iceland and Scandinavia. They are often found in open countryside areas and grassy fields, but redwings are also known to visit parks and gardens across the UK.

 

Migration and breeding

When migrating, redwings will form flocks of anything up to 200 or more birds! They are known to feed together with some of our favourite wild birds, including fieldfares, blackbirds and starlings.

The redwing is known to breed in conifers and birch forest, nesting in shrubs or simply on the ground. The redwing can lay between four to six eggs in its tidy nest, but sadly, there are just 13 breeding pairs in the UK with 8.6 million wintering here! The redwing has a red-listed status due to its lack of nesting and breeding pairs in the UK.

If you do spot a redwing in the UK, don’t forget to log the sighting on our Birdspotter map!