The American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla), one of the most abundant birds in North America, is a member of the warbler family. It has a distinctive habit of dropping down suddenly in pursuit of a flying insect, then fanning its brightly marked tail from side to side.
The male is black with bright orange patches on wings and tail; the belly is white. Females and young birds are dull olive-brown above, white below, with yellow wing and tail patches. It takes a full year for the males to acquire the black-and-orange adult plumage, so it is not quite unusual to find what appears to be a female singing and displaying like a male.
The call of the American Redstart is 5 or 6 high-pitched notes or 2-note phrases, ending with an upward or downward inflection: chewy-chewy-chewy, chew-chew-chew.
This species prefers second-growth woodlands, and thickets with saplings. It breeds from SE Alaska, central Minnesota, central Quebec, and Newfoundland south to Georgia, S.Louisiana, SE. Oklahoma, Colorado, and N. California. In winter it is seen from Mexico to South America.