Birds by Name – R
The Red-billed Firefinch, Lagonosticta senegala, is a small passerine bird, an estrildid finch, which grows to about ten centimetres in length.
The adult male has scarlet plumage apart from brown wings. The bill is pink and it has a distinctive yellow eye-ring. Females have brown upperparts and buff underparts, a small red patch in front of both eyes and the bill is pink.
The Red-billed Firefinch eats a variety of small seeds.
The nest is a large grass structure with a side entrance, built low in a bush or wall. The female lays three to six white eggs but may well end up with more chicks as it is the preferred target for the cuckoo-like Village Indigobird.
Species: L. senegala
The Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu, Uraeginthus bengalus, is a small passerine bird, an estrildid finch, growing up to around 12 centimetres in length. The first photo is a male and female together.
The adult male has brown upperparts, lovely pale blue breast, flanks and tail, a lighter coloured belly and a red patch on each cheek. Females are a bit duller and do not have the red cheek spot. Juvenile birds are like the female, but with the blue restricted to the face and throat.
The nest is a large grass structure with a side entrance, usually built in a tree or bush. The female lays four to six white eggs.
The Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu feeds mainly on grass and other small seeds.
Species: U. bengalus
Formerly very scarce in the UK and on the brink of extinction, it was reintroduced into various parts of the country and has flourished, having few or no natural predators except for humans. The Red Kite became extinct in many European countries but has since been reintroduced.
The main threats to Red Kite are poisoning, either deliberate illegal poisoning or indirect poisoning due to pesticides, particularly in the wintering areas in France and Spain, changes in agricultural practices causing a reduction in food resources, hunting, egg collection and deforestation.
The Red Kite is between 60 and 66 centimetres long, has a wingspan up to 195 centimetres and weighs up to 1.3 kilos.
It eats carrion, worms and small mammals.
Order: Falconiformes (or Accipitriformes)
Species: M. milvus
The Common Redshank or just Redshank, Tringa totanus, is a wader belonging to the large family Scolopacidae.
Common Redshanks are a mottled brown colour in breeding plumage but in winter plumage they become lighter and less patterned, plain greyish-brown above and whitish below. They have bright orangey-red legs and a black-tipped red bill, and show white up the back and on the wings in flight.
They eat insects, earthworms, molluscs and crustaceans, probing into soil and mud with their bills.
Species: T. totanus
The Redwing (Turdus iliacus) is a bird in the thrush family Turdidae and is native to Europe and Asia.
It has brown back, brown spots on its white belly, a creamy strip above the eye and orangey-red patches on the flank.
The Redwing is around 24 centimetres long, has a wingspan of 33 to 34.5 centimetres and weighs between 50 and 75 grams. The sexes are very similar.
It eats berries and worms.
Species: T. iliacus
The Red-Legged Partridge, Alectoris rufa, is a gamebird in the pheasant family Phasianidae.
It is quite plump and rounded with a light brown back, grey breast and buff belly. The face is white with a black collar around the neck and the legs are, as the name might suggest, red.
The Red-Legged Partridge breeds naturally in south western Europe, France and Iberia but has become naturalised in parts of England and Wales after being initially introduced as a game species.
It mainly eats seeds although the young will also often eat insects.
Species: A. rufa
It is about the size of a Sparrow but a bit slimmer and with a longer, notched tail.
The male has a black head and throat, white neck collar and underparts, and a heavily streaked brown back. The female is much duller, with a streaked brown head, and is more streaked below.
It eats seeds and insects.
Species: E. schoeniclus
The Robin, Erithacus rubecula, is many people’s favourite bird. Males and females are almost identical, both with the distinctive red breast. Juveniles are brown with spots, no red breast.
Although very friendly birds, Robins are extremely territorial and do not like intruders, generally chasing them off.
Robins eat worms, seeds, fruits and insects.
Robins were originally classed as members of the thrush family, Turdidae, but are now considered to be an Old World flycatcher, Muscicapidae.
Species: E. rubecula
Lovely shades of blue and an impressively long, forked tail are the hallmarks of the Abyssinian Roller, Coracias abyssinicus, a fairly large bird at 28 to 30 centimetres in length. The tail can be up to 12 centimetres long.
The Abyssinian Roller often sits on overhead cables, watching for large insects or small rodents.
It nests in holes in trees or buildings and usually lays three to six eggs.
Species: C. abyssinicus
This would appear to be a Blue-bellied Roller, Coracias cyanogaster, a medium.sized bird growing up to around 30 centimetres in length.
The Blue-bellied Roller often perches on trees, posts or overhead wires as it watches out for grasshoppers and other large insects, which are its main diet.
It nests in a hole in a tree.
Species: C. cyanogaster
The Rook, Corvus frugilegus, is a passerine bird in the Corvidae family, similar in size to the Carrion Crow at between 45 and 47 centimetres in length.
Very social birds, rarely seen on their own, Rooks are readily distinguished from similar members of the crow family by the bare grey-white skin around the base of the beak in front of the eyes.
Rooks mainly eat worms, insects and grain but will also eat small mammals, small birds and eggs and, on occasion, fruit.
Species: C. frugilegus