Wheatear

Oenanthe oenanthe

TAXONOMY

Oenanthe oenanthe Linnaeus, 1758. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Northern wheatear; French: Traquet motteaux; German: Steinschmätzer; Spanish: Collalba Gris.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

5.5-5.9 in (14-15 cm); male 0.6-1.0 oz (18-28 g); female 0.7-1.0 oz (19-28 g). Males have dark gray upperparts, white underparts, and black wings. Their tails have a white base and a black tip. Their throats, breasts, and flanks are covered in a buff wash. Females have brown upperparts and darker brown wings. A rusty wash covers their throats and breasts.

DISTRIBUTION

Alaska, northern coast of Canada, Baffin Island, coasts of Greenland, Iceland, and wide band from northwest Europe south to Iberia and eastwards across Asia; locally Morocco, Tunisia.

HABITAT

Open grassy ground near rocks, stone walls or crags, sandy heaths, coastal grassland with outcrops of rock, boulders, or scree.

BEHAVIOR

Singly or in pairs, terrestrial, running or hopping over open spaces or perching on small eminences; male sings from perch or in song flight.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Insects and other small invertebrates; a few berries.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous and territorial; nest in cavity in rocks or wall or in hole in ground, loosely made of grass and stems; four to seven eggs incubated only by female for 13 days; young fledge after 15 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ‚ô¶

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