Black Redstarts breed from northwest Africa and Iberia, through western and central Europe, north to central Britain, southern Fenno-Scania and the Baltic states, as well as discontinuously from Asia Minor and the Middle East to central Asia and China. They are mostly migratory, wintering in North Africa, western and southern Europe, the Middle East and southern Asia. Those breeding in western Europe and the Mediterranean region are more sedentary.
    In Britain breeding was first proved in the 1920s and 1930s in south coastal counties. Numbers increased during and after the 1939-45 War as they colonised bombed buildings in London and elsewhere in southern towns. By the time of the 1988-91 Breeding Atlas the British breeding popultion was estimated to be between 80 and 120 pairs, scattered from London and the Home Counties, west to Gwynedd and north to East Anglia, the West Midlands and Yorkshire. Bird Atlas 2007-2011 recorded them present in 4% of 10km squares in the breeding season, with breeding confirmed or probable in 1%. In winter they arrive in greater numbers and can be found in 21% of squares, all around the coasts of Wales, south and east England and east Scotland right up to Shetland, and in a scattering of inland sites.
    In Wiltshire there were about a dozen records of individual Black Redstarts in the period between 1880 and the outbreak of the 1939-1945 War. After the war, they began to be seen regularly. Thirty-eight records were documented in the period between 1946 and 1973, mostly passage migrants in either March-April or October-December. From 1974 to 2000 there were at least three and up to 17 records every year. Breeding was first recorded in the county in 1975 and there were further records in 1976, 1979, 1987, 1999 and 2012.

The following references are used throughout these species’ accounts, in the abbreviated form given in quotation marks:
1968-72 Breeding Atlas” – Sharrack, J.T.R. 1976:  The Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1981-84 Winter Atlas” – Lack, P.C. 1986:  The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. T. & A. Poyser
1988-91 Breeding Atlas” – Gibbons, D.W., Reid, J.B. & Chapman, R.A. 1993: The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 1988-91. T. & A. Poyser
Birds of Wiltshire” – Ferguson-Lees, I.J. et al. 2007: Birds of Wiltshire, published by the tetrad atlas group of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society after mapping fieldwork 1995-2000. Wiltshire Ornithological Society.
Bird Atlas 2007-2011”-– Balmer, D.E., Gillings, S., Caffrey, B.J., Swann, R.L., Downie, I.S. and Fuller, R.J. 2013: The Breeding and Wintering Birds of Britain and Ireland. BTO Books. 
WTA2” – ("Wiltshire Tetrad Atlas 2 ") the present electronic publication, bringing together the Wiltshire data from “Birds of Wiltshire” and “Bird Atlas 2007-11”, together with data from further fieldwork carried out in 2011 and 2012.
"Hobby" - the annual bird report of the Wiltshire Ornithological Society.