Pied wheatear

The pied wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka) is a wheatear, a small insectivorous passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher (family Muscicapidae). This migratory central Asiatic wheatear occurs from the extreme southeast of Europe to China, and has been found wintering in India and northeastern Africa. It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.

The male is a boldly marked white-and-black bird. The white crown tinged with brown contrasts with the black face and throat and white rump. The female is browner, and the head is washed with sandy buff. Females are darker than the females of the northern wheatear, look smaller and show less white on the rump. The tail feathers are white with characteristic black markings, which form an inverted black "T" pattern that resembles the tail of the black-eared wheatear. This 14 centimetres (5.5 in) bird nests in open, stony, sparsely vegetated regions, laying four to six eggs in a hole, under a stone or in a rock crevice. The pied wheatear primarily eats insects but will also take seeds.

Pied wheatear
Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka) (8079431820)
Male
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Oenanthe
Species:
O. pleschanka
Binomial name
Oenanthe pleschanka
(Lepechin, 1770)
OenanthePleschankaIUCNver2018 2
Range of O. pleschanka     Breeding      Non-breeding
Synonyms[2]
  • Oenanthe leucomela
  • Oenanthe somalica
  • Oenanthe vittata

Etymology

The genus name Oenanthe is derived from the Ancient Greek oenos (οίνος) "wine" and anthos (ανθός) "flower". It refers to the northern wheatear's return to Greece in the spring just as the grapevines blossom. Pleschanka is the Russian name for the pied wheatear and refers to the white cap (plesch is a bald spot on the head).[3] "Wheatear" is not derived from "wheat" or any sense of "ear", but is a 16th-century linguistic corruption of "white" and "arse", referring to the prominent white rump found in most species.[4]

Description

The crown, nape and neck of the adult male pied wheatear are pale brown, the feathers having pale tips and white bases. The mantle and scapulars are black with buff tips to the feathers. The back, rump and upper tail-coverts are creamy-white. The central pair of tail feathers are black with white bases but the rest are white with black tips, the outer pair having rather more black than the rest. There is a narrow buff-coloured line extending from the base of the beak to over the eye and the lores, ear coverts, chin, throat and upper breast are black. The rest of the breast is buff, the belly creamy-buff and the underwing coverts and axillaries are black tipped with white. The wing feathers are black with tips and edgings of creamy-buff. The bird moults in late summer and by the following year, the edges of the feathers are abraded and the crown and nape are white and the mantle, scapulars and wings black. The beak, legs and feet are black and the eyes dark brown. The length is about 5.75 inches (146 mm).[5]

BGOenantheOenantheFemale
Female in Bulgaria

The adult female is similar to the male but the mantle and scapulars are brown with buff tips rather than black, the tail feathers are brown and white and the wing feathers brown with buff tips. Again, abrasion wears of the tips of the feathers and the bird becomes more uniformly brown and white with creamy buff underparts. The female is slightly smaller than the male. The juvenile is similar to the female but the feathers of the brown upperparts have pale centres near the tips giving the bird a speckled appearance.[5]

The voice is a harsh zack zack. The song is low-pitched and musical and is performed by the male in early summer and again in August. It consists of a variable, imitative series of notes, sometimes lark-like and sometimes whistling, pouring out in a continual stream. It is sung from a perch on a rock or other high place or in the air during flight.[5]

Distribution and habitat

The pied wheatear is native to Southeast Europe and Western Asia. The breeding range extends from Romania and Bulgaria to Siberia, Altai and Mongolia and southwards to the Caucasus, Transcaspia, Turkestan, Iran and Afghanistan.[6] It occurs at altitudes of up to 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) in the Altai and up to 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) in the Tien Shan. It migrates to Northeast Africa, passing through Southwest Asia on the way. In the breeding season it is found in rough open country, steppes with scant vegetation, stony slopes and hilly country. In its winter quarters it is found in similar locations with rock, scree and on plains with thorny scrub. It sometimes visits grassy areas and gardens. It has occurred as a vagrant in Italy, Heligoland and Scotland.[5]

Behaviour

The pied wheatear is rather shy but is conspicuous when spotted. It is not gregarious and single birds or pairs are found in rough, rocky countryside. It likes to perch on a bush or rock, alert and looking around and bobbing its tail up and down.[5] When it spots a prey item it swoops down to the ground briefly to pick it up before returning to its perch.[5] Its diet consists of small invertebrates such as ants, grasshoppers, beetles, flies and moths and their larvae, spiders and mites, and seeds are also eaten.[5]

Breeding

The nest is made in holes in a riverbank, under stones and rocks and in crevices. It is made from dried grass stems and lined with slender roots and a few downy feathers. Four to six greenish-blue eggs with rust-coloured spots on the larger end are laid from early May onwards. They average 19.3 by 15.1 millimetres (0.76 in × 0.59 in) and there is normally a single brood.[5]

Status

The pied wheatear has a wide range across Eastern Europe and Western Asia and is common across that range. There are estimated to be somewhere between 96,000 and 420,000 individuals in Europe. As Europe forms 5 to 24% of the global range, the total population may be in the region of 400,000-8,400,000 individuals. The population is believed to be stable with no particular threats so the bird is rated as being of "Least Concern" by Birdlife International.[7]

References

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Oenanthe pleschanka". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka) (Lepechin, 1770)". Avibase. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  3. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London, United Kingdom: Christopher Helm. pp. 280, 310. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  4. ^ "Wheatear". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Witherby, H. F., ed. (1943). Handbook of British Birds, Volume 2: Warblers to Owls. H. F. and G. Witherby Ltd. pp. 160–163.
  6. ^ "Pied Chat (Oenanthe leucomela leucomela)". AVIS IBIS. Foundation for Ecological Security. Archived from the original on 2013-09-25. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  7. ^ "Pied Wheatear: Oenanthe pleschanka". BirdLife International. Retrieved 2013-08-13.

Further reading

Black-eared wheatear

The black-eared wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica) is a wheatear, a small migratory passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher (family Muscicapidae).

This 13.5–15.5 cm (5.3–6.1 in) long insectivorous species is dimorphic with eastern and western races, sometimes split as eastern black-eared wheatear (Oenanthe melanoleuca) and western black-eared wheatear (which then retains the name hispanica). In both forms, birds with or without a black throat are met with.

The breeding male of the western form O. h. hispanica of the Iberian peninsula and north Africa has the forehead and crown white or nearly white, the mantle buff, and the wings blacker than those of the northern wheatear. The underparts are white tinged with buff. The back, upper tail coverts and most of the tail are white. The ear coverts and a line from the bill, and sometimes the throat, are black (sometimes referred to as dark morph).

In autumn and winter the head and mantle are distinctly buff, as are the underparts, including the throat, but the buff varies in intensity. Except for the central pair, the tail feathers are much whiter than in the northern wheatear, the white on the inner web often extending to the tip.

The female is a browner bird, but has the characteristic lower back, and her seasonal changes are less marked.

The eastern O. h. melanoleuca is found in the eastern Mediterranean, and migrates to winter quarters in the Sudan.

The male of the eastern form is even whiter in summer than the western bird, but as a rule may be distinguished by the line which extends across the base of the bill. Black-throated individuals of this race have a greater amount of black on the throat and face than on the western birds, and the black generally terminates more abruptly or in a straighter line.

It is a rare vagrant to northwest Europe.

Common cuckoo

The common cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) is a member of the cuckoo order of birds, Cuculiformes, which includes the roadrunners, the anis and the coucals.

This species is a widespread summer migrant to Europe and Asia, and winters in Africa. It is a brood parasite, which means it lays eggs in the nests of other bird species, particularly of dunnocks, meadow pipits, and reed warblers. Although its eggs are larger than those of its hosts, the eggs in each type of host nest resemble the host's eggs. The adult too is a mimic, in its case of the sparrowhawk; since that species is a predator, the mimicry gives the female time to lay her eggs without being seen to do so.

Cyprus wheatear

The Cyprus wheatear or Cyprus pied wheatear (Oenanthe cypriaca) is a small, 14–15 cm long passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher, Muscicapidae. It was formerly treated as a subspecies (race) of pied wheatear but Sluys and van den Berg (1982) argued that the form deserved full species status, on the basis of differences in biometrics and especially song, and the lack of sexual plumage dimorphism in cypriaca.

This migratory insectivorous species breeds only in Cyprus, and winters in southern Sudan and Ethiopia. It has been recorded as a vagrant on Heligoland, Germany,This species closely resembles pied wheatear, although it has slightly more black on the tail and back, and on the head. The sexes are similar in appearance, a fact first documented by Christensen (1974). A 2010 study found that Cyprus wheatear differs from pied wheatear in fourteen external morphometric characters.The song is distinctive, and very different from that of pied wheatear, resembling an insect. It consists of a series of high-pitched buzzing bursts.The song-perches utilised by this species are high for a wheatear, typically being 5 to 10 metres above ground. It often breeds in woodland habitats, unlike other wheatears (Oliver 1990 suggested that it occupies the ecological niche used elsewhere in the Western Palearctic by the common redstart). It is the most arboreal species of wheatear in the western palearctic and it uses often aerial sallying and perch-pounce-feeding tactics. Recent work suggest an ecological differentiation between Cyprus wheatear and migrating northern wheatears O. oenanthe and black-eared wheatears O. hispanica melanoleuca. Cyprus wheatear uses more aerial sallying and occupies more forested habitats, but needs a minimum amount of open/bare ground, and a minimum of high bush/tree vegetation (Randler et al. 2009).

Kaliakra

Kaliakra (Bulgarian: Калиакра) is a long and narrow headland in the Southern Dobruja region of the northern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, 12 kilometres (7 mi) east of Kavarna, 60 kilometres (37 mi) northeast of Varna and 65 kilometres (40 mi) southwest of Mangalia. The coast is steep with vertical cliffs reaching 70 metres (230 ft) down to the sea.

Kaliakra is a nature reserve, where dolphins and cormorants can be observed. It sits on the Via Pontica, a major bird migration route from Africa into Eastern and Northern Europe. Many rare and migrant birds can be seen here in spring and autumn and, like much of this coastline, is home to several rare breeding birds (e.g. pied wheatear and a local race of European shag). The rest of the reserve also has unusual breeding birds; saker falcon, lesser grey shrike and a host of others.

It also features the remnants of the fortified walls, water-main, baths and residence of Despot Dobrotitsa in the short-lived Principality of Karvuna's medieval capital. The Bolata Cove with a small sheltered beach lies just north at the mouth of a picturesque canyon, also part of the nature reserve.

List of Old World flycatcher species

Old World flycatchers is the common name for the avian family Muscicapidae, which also includes the Old World chats. The International Ornithological Congress (IOC) recognizes these 330 species in the family, distributed among five subfamilies and 51 genera.This list is presented according to the IOC taxonomic sequence and can also be sorted alphabetically by common name and binomial.

List of birds of Bulgaria

This list of birds of Bulgaria includes all bird species which have been seen in the country. Birds marked with (W) are species which spend the winter in Bulgaria but do not breed there, birds marked with (V) are vagrant species and birds marked with (I) are introduced species. It includes 400 bird species from 21 orders, 63 families and 198 genera.

The varied natural habitat, relief and climate and relatively untouched environment are among the main reasons for the many bird species in the country. The numerous islands and wetlands along the Danube including the Persina Natural Park and Srebarna Nature Reserve, as well as the lakes and swamps along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, support many species of diving and aquatic birds such as ducks, swans, pelicans, grebes, spoonbills and many others. The eastern Rhodopes are among the strongholds of birds of prey in Europe, with most of the species in the continent nesting in that area. The mild climate in the extreme south offers good conditions for many Mediterranean birds as well as for wintering species from the north.

List of birds of Denmark

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Denmark. The avifauna of Denmark included a total of 474 species recorded in the wild by early 2018 according to Bird list of Denmark. Of these species, 183 are rare or accidental and six have been introduced by humans.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 2018 edition.The following tags are used by the Danish Ornithologcial Society (Dansk Onitologisk Forening, DOF) to highlight some categories of occurrence. Those without tags are in Category A and "have been recorded in an apparently wild state in Denmark since 1st January 1950" according to DOF.

(B) Category B - species which naturally occurred in Denmark prior to 1 January 1950 but have not been recorded since then

(C) Category C - species introduced by humans, directly or indirectly, and which have established feral breeding populations

(*) Rarity - species which require submission to the Danish Rarities Committee of DOF for the sighting to be included in the official record.

List of birds of Georgia (country)

This is a list of the bird species recorded in the country of Georgia. The avifauna of Georgia include a total of 361 species, of which 11 are rare or accidental.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 6th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Accidental species are included in the total species count for Georgia.

The following tag has been used to highlight accidentals. The commonly occurring native species are untagged.

(A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Georgia

List of birds of Greece

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Greece. The avifauna of Greece include a total of 453 species according to the Hellenic Rarities Committee of the Hellenic Ornithological Society (Ελληνική Ορνιθολογική Εταιρεία). Of them, four have not been recorded since 1950 and two have been introduced by humans.This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (English and scientific names) are those of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 2018 edition.The following tags have been used to highlight several categories of occurrence. Species without tags are regularly occurring residents, migrants, or seasonal visitors which have been recorded since 1 January 1950.

(*) Rare in Greece; reports of these 120 species require submission to the Hellenic Rarities Committee for inclusion in the official record.

(B) Species which have not occurred in Greece since 1 January 1950.

(C) Species that do not occur naturally in Greece, although breeding populations have been introduced by humans.

List of birds of Kyrgyzstan

376 bird species have occurred in the Kyrgyz Republic.

List of birds of Norway

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Norway. The avifauna of Norway included a total of 517 species recorded in the wild by the end of 2016 according to the Norwegian Ornithological Society (Norsk Ornitologisk Forening, NOF). An additional 23 species have been recorded by Bird Checklists of the World by early 2018. Of the 540 species listed here, 257 are accidental, five have been introduced by humans, and one is extinct.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 2018 edition.The following tags have been used to highlight some categories of occurrence. The (A) tags are from Bird Checklists of the World. The (I) and (D) tags are from the NOF. The notes of population status such as "endangered" apply to the world population and are also from Bird Checklists of the World.

(A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Norway

(I) Introduced - a species introduced directly or indirectly to Norway and which has an established population

(D) Category D - species (17) for which there is reasonable doubt as to the wild origin of reported birds

List of birds of Palestine

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Palestine.

The avifauna of the Palestine region is unusually rich for so small an area. Henry B. Tristram, who identified much of the avifauna of Palestine in an 1885 study which denoted the geographical scope as covering an area of 5,600 square miles (15,000 km2), identified 348 species. Of those, 271 are Palearctic, 40 are Ethiopian (10 of which are also Indian), 7 Indian and 30 which are peculiar to Syria. The number of species identified has grown considerably since then and is expected to grow further as the number of active ornithologists in the region grows. Today, there are 470 species, classified in 206 genera, belonging to 67 families and grouped in 21 orders.Orders containing the largest numbers of species are: Passeriformes (songbirds) with 192 species, Charadriiformes (waders, plovers, gulls) with 88 species, Falconiformes (diurnal birds of prey) with 44 species and Anseriformes (swans, geese, ducks) with 33 species. The largest families are: Sylviidae (warblers) with 43 species, Turdidae (thrushes, chats) and Anatidae (swans, geese, ducks), both with 33 species and Accipitridae (eagles, vultures, hawks) with 32 species. The most populous genera are: Sylvia (warblers) with 15 species, Emberiza (buntings) with 14 and Larus (gulls) with 13, while Oenanthe (wheatears), Sterna (terns) and Falco (falcons) each comprise 11 species.The types of avifauna are not equally diffused over the whole area. The Palearctic species are found largely near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and the highlands east and west of Jordan. The Ethiopian and Indian types are almost exclusively confined to the Dead Sea basin. There are 30 species of migratory soaring birds that pass through Palestine annually.

List of birds of Poland

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Poland. The avifauna of Poland include 446 species, of which six have been introduced by humans and seven have not occurred since 1950.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of the Polish Fauna Commission (Komisja Faunistyczna). The Polish names of the birds, with their scientific names, are in the Polish Wikipedia article.

The following tags have been used to highlight several categories. The commonly occurring native species do not fall into any of these categories.

(B) Historical - species that have not occurred in Poland since 1950

(C) Introduced - species introduced to Poland as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions

(*) Rare - species that are rare or accidental in Poland

List of birds of Sweden

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Sweden. The avifauna of Sweden include a total of 508 confirmed species as of April 2014, according to Birdlife Sverige. An additional 22 species have been recorded by Bird Checklists of the World by early 2018. Of the 530 species listed here, 225 are accidental and two have been introduced by humans. One is extinct.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (English and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 2018 edition.The following tags have been used to highlight some categories of occurrence; the tags are from Bird Checklists of the World.

(A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Sweden

(I) Introduced - a species introduced to Sweden as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions, and has become established

List of birds of the Netherlands

This is a list of the bird species recorded in the Netherlands. The avifauna of the Netherlands included a total of 534 species recorded in the wild by early 2018 according to Checklist of Dutch bird species and Bird Checklists of the World. Of these species, 238 are accidental, 16 have been introduced by humans, and one is extinct.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 2018 edition.The following tags have been used to highlight some categories of occurrence. The (A) tags are from one or both of Checklist of Dutch bird species and Bird Checklists of the World, and (I) tags are from Bird Checklists of the World. The notes of population status such as "endangered" apply to the world population and are also from Bird Checklists of the World.

(A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in the Netherlands

(I) Introduced - a species introduced to the Netherlands as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions

Sibley-Monroe checklist 14

The Sibley-Monroe checklist was a landmark document in the study of birds. It drew on extensive DNA-DNA hybridisation studies to reassess the relationships between modern birds.

Stronsay

Stronsay is an island in Orkney, Scotland. It is known as Orkney's 'Island of Bays', owing to an irregular shape with miles of coastline, with three large bays separated by two isthmuses: St Catherine's Bay to the west, the Bay of Holland to the south and Mill Bay to the east. Stronsay is 3,275 hectares (13 square miles) in area, and 44 metres (144 feet) in altitude at its highest point. It has a usually resident population of 349. The main village is Whitehall, home to a heritage centre.

Sights on the island include the Vat of Kirbister, a natural arch described as the "finest in Orkney", white sand beaches in the three bays, and various seabirds amongst which are Arctic terns.

Wheatear

The wheatears are passerine birds of the genus Oenanthe. They were formerly considered to be members of the thrush family, Turdidae, but are now more commonly placed in the flycatcher family, Muscicapidae. This is an Old World group, but the northern wheatear has established a foothold in eastern Canada and Greenland and in western Canada and Alaska.

Wildlife of Ladakh

The flora and fauna of [Ladakh] was first studied by [Ferdinand Stoliczka], an [Austria]n[Czech people|Czech][palaeontologist], who carried out a massive expedition in the region in the 1870s. The fauna of Ladakh have much in common with that of Central Asia generally, and especially those of the Tibetan Plateau. An exception to this are the birds, many of which migrate from the warmer parts of India to spend the summer in Ladakh. For such an arid area, Ladakh has a great diversity of birds — a total of 318 species have been recorded (Including 30 species not seen since 1960). Many of these birds reside or breed at high-altitude wetlands such as Tso Moriri.

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