Northern Wheatear

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Image:NorthernWheatear.JPG

Common Name: Northern Wheatear
Scientific Name: Oenanthe oenanthe

Size: 5.7-6.3 inches (14.5-16 cm)

Habitat: Africa, Eurasia and North America; Winters: Sub-Saharan Africa. Summers: Northern Eurasia, Greenland, Canada and Alaska. Found in rocky tundra, barren slopes, hill pastures and sand dunes.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 20,000,000 - 100,000,000 mature individuals. In Europe, trends since 1980 show that populations have undergone a moderate decline.

Diet: Insects and some berries.

Breeding: Breeding males have Grey upperparts, a buff throat, black wings and face mask and a white stripe above the eye. Females are sandy-brown above and buff below with an eye patch and their wings are brown. In Autumn, the male, female and juvenile are browner.

Nest is on ground on dry tundra, usually in hole in a wall, under stones, or in old rodent burrow. The nest construction is a cup of grass, twigs, weeds, lined with finer material such as moss, lichens and rootlets. The clutch is usually 5-6 pale blue eggs; unmarked, or with fine reddish brown dots, which are incubated by the female for 13-14 days.

Cool Facts: The Wheatear was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher, Muscicapidae.

The Northern Wheatear makes one of the longest journeys of any small bird, crossing ocean, ice, and desert. It migrates from Sub-Saharan Africa in Spring, over a vast area of the northern hemisphere that includes northern and central Asia, Europe, Greenland, Alaska, and parts of Canada. In autumn, all return to Africa, where their ancestors had wintered. Arguably, some of the birds that breed in north Asia could take a shorter route and winter in south Asia; however, their inherited inclination to migrate takes them back to Africa.


Found in Songbird ReMix European Edition 2

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