Painted Redstart – Accepted

1. 13–16 Apr 1973


Cottonwood Cyn., Death Valley INY




2. 02 Sep 1974


Pt. Loma SD




3-4. 14 Jun–03 Jul 1982

≥ 2

Big Bear Lake SBE




5. early Nov 1982–20 Feb 1983


Oxnard VEN




6. 11 Nov 1982–12 Mar 1983


Santa Barbara SBA





Painted Redstart – Not accepted, identification not established

23 Apr 1983


Placerita Canyon LA











Figure 424. Combining rarity, panache, and ease of recognition, the Painted Redstart is a favorite of many California birders. Most, like this bird—photographed on 29 December 2005 at Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas, Los Angeles County—are discovered on the state’s southern coastal slope during fall or winter (Bob Steele).






Painted Redstart

PAINTED REDSTART Myioborus pictus (Swainson, 1829)

Accepted: 6 (86%)

Treated in Appendix H: no

Not accepted: 1

CBRC review: 1973, 1974, 1982 & 1983 records1

Not submitted/reviewed: NA

Color image: none

In the United States, this personable warbler breeds from northwestern Arizona east to southwestern New Mexico and very locally in western Texas. The breeding range extends south along both slopes of Middle America to northern Nicaragua. Most of the northernmost birds migrate to wintering grounds that extend from Sonora and Nuevo León southward, but small numbers regularly winter in southeastern Arizona. The species winters casually elsewhere in the West and near the Gulf of Mexico in Texas and Louisiana (NAB 57:226, Dunn and Garrett 1997). Spring and fall vagrants have been recorded widely across North America, including records from British Columbia, Montana, the Great Lakes region (several), northern New York, Massachusetts, Kansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and the Baja California Peninsula.

California’s first Painted Redstart was present from 27 October to 1 November 1927 at Elysian Park in Los Angeles, Los Angles County (Miller 1927, Hubricht 1927). California now claims more than 100 records, all but a handful from the state’s southern third. Most involve fall vagrants (24 August–8 November, peaking in September) and winter visitors (25 September–22 March). Fall and winter birds occur mainly along the southern coastal slope, with a smattering inland and a small number from the central coast, exceptionally north to Marin County (28 September 1998 at Marin Headlands and 30 September 1998 at Pt. Reyes; NAB 53:102). Southern California hosted an amazing total of 17 during fall and winter 2005/2006 (NAB 60:142, 286). There is one offshore record: 10 October 1975 on Santa Cruz Island, Santa Barbara County (AB 30:129).

The species is a casual spring vagrant (1 April–24 May), mainly to the southeastern deserts, but with a few records from the southern mountains and southern coastal slope; a 27 April 2003 record from Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County (NAB 57:401), is exceptional.

Painted Redstarts summer casually in the mountains of southern California (20 May–6 August), occasionally in pairs. The state’s first nesting attempt—23 May–29 July 1974 at Agua Dulce Creek in the Laguna Mts. of San Diego County—failed at the nestling stage (Unitt 1974, 2004). A pair building a nest from 20 to 22 May 1993 at Barton Flats in the San Bernardino Mts. of San Bernardino County had abandoned the area by 30 May (FN 48:990). Success was finally documented on 9 July 2005 with the discovery of fledglings at Fawnskin in the San Bernardino Mts. (NAB 59:656). The only record from the western slope of the Sierra Nevada involves a singing male found on 4 July 1969 near Springville in Tulare [not Kern] County (AFN 23:696).

1On the review list 1972–1976, 1983–1984