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The female is grey (western subspecies) to grey-brown (eastern subspecies) overall except for the orange-red lower rump and tail, greyer than the Common Redstart; at any age the grey axillaries and underwing coverts are also distinctive (in the Common Redstart these are buff to orange-red). One-year old males are similar to females but blacker; the whitish wing panel of the western subspecies does not develop until the second year.
It is a widespread breeder in south and central Europe and Asia and northwest Africa, from Great Britain and Ireland (where local) south to Morocco, east to central China. It is resident in the milder parts of its range, but northeastern birds migrate to winter in southern and western Europe and Asia, and north Africa. It nests in crevices or holes in buildings.
Photographed in 'El Torcal', Antequera.