Adults and larvae of a wide variety of invertebrates make up the majority of the common redstart’s diet, although it will also feed on berries, fruits and seeds (2) (3) (5). It typically forages from bushes or the lower branches of trees, flying out to pick prey items from the ground and returning to the perch to feed. It very rarely probes or searches in the leaf-litter. The common redstart also makes short sallies after flying insects, and will also pick prey from trunks, branches and leaves, sometimes hovering briefly near vegetation to seek out prey (2) (3).
Breeding occurs between April and July (2) (3). The male common redstart arrives at the breeding sites first and sets up a territory, followed by the female several days later (4). The male performs various courtship displays to attract a female, including crouching and facing a potential mate with its wings raised and the tail fanned, displaying the bright orange-red colouration. It will also show off potential nest sites to the female by perching on or near possible nest holes (8). The nest is typically placed one to six metres above the ground, in a hole in a tree, an old stump, among rocks, or in the wall of a building or a nest box. The nest is usually a loose cup of grass, roots, moss and other vegetation, lined with hair and feathers (2) (3).
The female common redstart generally lays a clutch of 5 to 7 eggs (2) (3) (10), which are incubated for 12 to 14 days. The chicks remain in the nest for around 12 to 15 days before they fledge, and are dependant on the adults for a further 10 to 14 days after leaving the nest (2) (3). Northern and southern populations of the common redstart exhibit different breeding strategies, with populations at more northerly latitudes raising a single clutch per breeding season, compared with two clutches in the more southern parts of this species’ range (2) (10).
The common redstart is a migratory species, leaving the breeding grounds towards the end of August to move to its wintering range in either Africa or the Arabian Peninsula (2) (3).