About 14 centimetres long, this slim bird usually has a vibrating, rusty-red tail with dark inner feathers. In summer, the male has a black throat, an orange-red breast, a white forehead and an ash-grey crown and back. The female is grey-brown above and buff-white below. In autumn, the male is similar.
The redstart lives in woodland, gardens and parks throughout Europe, and winters in central Africa, departing between mid-August and early October.
The redstart nests in hollow trees and may also use nesting boxes. It feeds on insects, which it catches in flight.