Grey catbird in Italy ?

Hallo everyone, I have set up on my balcony a hanging bird feeder with home-made suet and sunflower seed balls. It is regularly visited by great tits, robins  and (unfortunately) very hungry blackbirds. In the last week I have noticed a new visitor: a grey bird just slightly larger than a robin with a weird tail-flicking behaviour and a reddish undertail (which I can distinctly see when it opens its wings and hovers close to the feeder for a few quick pecks at the balls).

I googled it up and it looks exactly like a grey catbird. I live in Milan, Italy, and I take it this bird is American and has been rarely sighted in Europe, the last sighting being in the UK (Cornwall) in October this year ( I have taken a few amateurish photographs with an old camera and I would like to have your opinion on what kind of bird it actually is.



  • Hi Paolo and welcome to the Forum. I don't think we've had anyone from Italy on here before.

    Not a Grey Catbird I'm afraid. It's a Black Redstart but an equally nice bird to have on your balcony.



    My Flickr Photostream 

  • Hi Paolo welcome to the community I think your bird is a Redstart, not sure if it's a Common or Black one but Teejay will be along to give you a positive ID.

    edit...I see TJ beat me too it LOL

    My Flickr photos

  • In reply to TeeJay:

    Thank you so much  for the identification (and for the warm welcome from the UK)!! I agree: it's an attractive bird although it's not  "a celebrity".Do you know if it uses nesting boxes and what kind? Actually, there's a pair of them and I would like to lure them into nesting on the balcony.

  • This is our Black Redstart nesting box which we built from a design in a book. If you're interested I'll go & measure it up, but not today as very cold out there!

    We have a male that comes to feed in winter & it loves dried mealworms.

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • While Hazel gets her coat and gloves on I've found this

    My Flickr photos

  • In reply to Alan.:

    I had a better idea & found the book. It's very similar to Alan's but bigger & says it's suitable for both types of Redstart, White/Pied Wagtail & Flycatchers. The roof is 22cm x 22cm, Back 15cm x 15cm, Front 8cm x 15cm, Bottom 12cm x 15cm, & the 2 sides are 19/12,5 x 15cm. The wood is 2cm thick. I can scan the book but it's in French.

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • In reply to Alan.:

    Alan and Noisette, so nice of you to come up with all this detailed information! It looks very much like the robin nesting box I I have put up a couple of weeks ago. I guess I will have to buy or make another one for the redstart, it's getting pretty crowded on my balcony...