Excitement as rare Black Redstart bird sighted within the City - Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Rare sighting of bird once synonymous with the City triggers excitement and sparks hope that the birds may one day return to breed.

A male Black Redstart - Photo © Steve Plume
A male Black Redstart - Photo © Steve Plume

A confirmed sighting of a male black redstart at an undisclosed location in Nottingham City Centre last week has given hope that the birds can be tempted to breed in the City once again.

The black redstart, a robin sized member of the chat sub-family that also includes robins, stonechats and nightingales, generally breed in mountainous regions, seeking out rocky cliffs and crags, but after the Second World War the birds took up residence on bombed out buildings which replicated their preferred nesting conditions – earning the species the nickname ‘bomb-site bird'.

In addition to replicating their nesting sites, disturbed ground around derelict buildings provided a close match for the stony, weedy areas they would find on mountain screes. As a result, they became a regular site in a number of UK cities including London, Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham.

With estimates putting the breeding population at less than 100 pairs across the UK, the bird, which has top level protected under the Wildlife & Countryside act and is considered a ‘Red List’ species of Conservation Concern.

Despite efforts to conserve and replicate its preferred feeding habitat and the installation of specially designed nesting boxes on buildings across the City Centre., the birds have been spotted less frequently in Nottingham of late, with no recent confirmed records of breeding.

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Posted On: 15/06/2022

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