Instagram | @praveenkashok

The Plumbeous Water Redstart Is A Round Little Bird With An Odd Little Name

I have a lot of fun with the world of bird names. It's hard not to when due to the evolution of language, terms like "tit" which simply described something small and cute at the time, now means something very different more than a century later.

Not all of those old fashioned names are funny, though. Some are just kind of interesting in their old-timey feel.

The plumbeous water redstart is one of those birds.

Instagram | @murchings

My friends have often noted that they can pick out my writing easily, thanks to my tendency to mix modern slang and slightly old-fashioned vocabulary — I blame a teenage obsession with historical fiction novels — but alas, even I had to consult a dictionary for this bird's name.

It turns out that "plumbeous" is just a very fancy way of saying "the color of lead."

Instagram | @bendukon

Kind of wish I'd had that word in my arsenal when I was trying to describe the exact shade of "slate-blue gray, but not too blue and not too gray" I wanted to paint my bedroom.

Because, yeah, this round little bird is pretty much the same color I ended up going with.

Plumbeous water redstarts are native to southern and southeastern Asia and much of China.

Instagram | @ankit_shrestha__

Males are a distinctive slate-blue with bright orange tails, while the females are a more subtle gray, with a white tail.

As their name suggests, they are found near water, particularly fast-moving rivers with plenty of insects.

Instagram | @avian.elixir

They prefer higher elevations in the summer, but will often come down during the winter to avoid the worst of the cold.

They're very territorial, defending their turf from anything that comes near.

h/t: Thai National Parks