[order] Passeriformes | [family] Muscicapidae | [latin] Tarsiger cyanurus | [UK] Red-flanked Bluetail | [FR] Rossignol à flancs | [DE] Blauschwanz | [ES] Coliazul cejiblanco | [IT] Codazzurro | [NL] Blauwstaart

Blauwstaart determination

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Close in size and structure to European Robin, though slightly shorter billed and longer tailed. Small, fairly compact chat, with general character recalling both European Robin and Redstart.Female dull olive-brown above, with pale eye-ring and darker, blue-washed rump and tail, dull white below, with brown chest and orange flank-panel. Sexes disimilar, no seasonal variation.

Breeds in upper-middle and marginally in upper continental latitudes, exclusively boreal and mountain, in thick mossy conifer forest, especially taiga, on moist soil, generally with undergrowth. Also mixed forest with birch and rhododendron. In Far East, more often in birchwoods, even up to 3000 m in Japan, where trees no more than 3 m high.

Tarsiger cyanurus has a predominantly Asian distribution, but its breeding range also extends into the boreal zone of European Russia and Finland. Its European breeding population is relatively small (<21,000 pairs), but was stable between 1970- 1990. No trend data were available for the stronghold Russian population during 1990-2000, but the small population in Finland increased

Diet based on insects, also fruits and seeds outside breeding season. Feeds in low trees, shrubs, and on ground. Catches insects by hopping about on ground, by perching and flying down to take items located, and by brief aerial-pursuit like flycatcher.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km². It has a large global population, including an estimated 20,000-41,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from birdlife.org]

Breeding starts June-August in former USSR. Nest site is on ground in hollow among tree roots, or in hole in bank, or slightly above ground in stump or fallen log. Nest cup consists of moss, grass, and roots, lined with softer grass, wool, hair, and sometimes pine needles. 5-7 eggs incubated by female.

West Palearctic populations are long-distance migrants (wintering from Burma east to southern China and Taiwan). (Southern race rufilatus, breeding Himalayan region and western China, mainly shows short-distance altitudinal movements.) West Palearctic birds therefore make long easterly movements (in autumn), passing north of major central Asian mountain systems, before turning south through Mongolia and China. Autumn migration begins early September; northern edge of range deserted by mid-September. Return passage begins April, vanguard reaching southern Siberia in second half of April. Spreads north and west during May, reaching Arkhangel‘sk region around 20 May-4 June.