Belongs to: chats

Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe

Birds of Conservation Concern Amber List


Best time to see: Mar to mid Oct

Key facts

Elegant, upright bird (and nothing to do with wheat: its name is a bowdlerised version of its original name 'white-arse')

Habitat: open country, in Essex coastal areas and derelict wasteland; on the edge of its range in Essex

Uncommon summer visitor, breeding sporadically

Recognition

Black wings, white rump and outer tail; m with grey crown and back and black mask, f more grey-brown; 14–16 cm

Perches openly low down on a rock or post, darting after food and often bobbing

Feeds mainly on insects, some spiders and snails

Lifecycle

Untidy nest of grass or moss in rock crevice or in rough grass

1 or 2 broods April to May

5–6 pale blue eggs

  • Main photo
  • female

Photo © Bill Varney

Photo © Gerald Downey