REDWING (Swed. Rodvinge, Dan. Roddrossel, Ger. Roldrossel, Du. Kofienviek), a species of thrush (q.v.), Turdus iliacus, which is an abundant winter visitor to the British Islands, arriving in autumn generally about the same time as the fieldfare (q.v.) does. This bird has its common English name * from the sides of its body, its inner wing-coverts and axillaries being of a bright reddish orange, of which colour, however, there is no appearance on the wing itself while the bird is at rest, and not much is ordinarily seen while it is in flight. In other respects it is very like a song-thrush, and indeed in France and some other countries it bears the name mauvis or mavis, often given to that species in some parts of Britain; but a conspicuous white streak over the eye at once affords a ready diagnosis. The redwing breeds in Iceland, in the subalpine and arctic districts of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and thence across Northern Russia and Siberia, becoming scarce to the eastward of the Yenisei, and not extending beyond Lake Baikal. In winter it visits the whole of Europe and North Africa, occa- 1 Many old writers assert that this bird used to be known in England as the "swinepipe"; but, except in books, this name does not seem to survive to the present day. There is no reason, however, to doubt that it was once in vogue, and the only question is how it may have arisen. If it has not been corrupted from the German Weindrossel or some other similar name, it may refer to the soft inward whistle which the bird often utters, resembling the sound of the pipe used by the swineherds of old when collecting the animals under their charge. Another form of the word (which may, however, be erroneous) is " windpipe." " Whindle " and " wheenerd " have also been given as old English names of this bird (Harl. Miscellany, 1st ed., li. p. 558), and these may be referred to the local German Weindrustle and Winsel.
sionally reaching Madeira, while to the eastward it is found at that season in Persia, and, it is said, at times in the northwestern Himalayas and Kohat. Many writers have praised the song of this bird, comparing it with that of the nightingale (q.ii.); but herein they seem to have been as much mistaken as in older times was Linnaeus, who according to S. Nilsson (Orn. Suecica, i. 177, note), failed to distinguish in life this species from its commoner congener T. musicus. Its nest and eggs a good deal resemble those of the blackbird, and have none of the special characters which distinguish those of the songthrush. (A. N.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)