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Order Song birds/Passeriformes, Family Thrushes/Turdidae

Red-flanked Bluetail/Tarsiger cyanurus - Male

L 13-14 cm. Breeds in taiga, mainly in rolling, upland terrain in undisturbed, damp, mossy spruce forest with some birch. Rare breeder in E Finland (arrives from late May). Long-distance migrant, winters in SE Asia. Rare vagrant in W Europe. Rather shy. Food insects. Nests in hollow trunk or stump, in bank among roots etc.
IDENTIFICATION: Seen well in good light, adult male is a beautiful bird with dull blue upperparts (only rump, tail-base, wing-bend and crown-side are brighter blue), orange flanks and white underparts. Wing blue or (usually) olive-tinged grey-brown. female, 1st-summer male and autumn immatures more modest in olive-grey and off-white and can easily be overlooked, are blue only on uppertail, but this normally looks just dark in field. Instead note orange patch on flanks, dusky breast and grey cheeks framing narrow white bib, also whitish eye-ring. Often flicks wings and tail.
VOICE: Alarm-calls somewhat recall Black Redstart’s: an often repeated, whistling, straight ‘viht’, and a muffled, hard, slightly throaty ‘track’. Song, often delivered from treetop at very first light, a rather constant, fast, short, clear, melancholy verse, not unlike Redstart’s but deeper and clearer, ‘itrüchürr- tre-tre-tru-trurr’.

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