NORTHERN WHEATEAR

NORTHERN WHEATEAR(Oenanthe oenanthe) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Northern Wheatear breeding male is light grey with a black mask and black wings. Throat has a light cinnamon patch. Eyes and bill are black. Legs and feet are pinkish grey. Female is light brown on top with cinnamon under parts. Rump has some white. Wings and tail are medium brown. Juvenile is mottled grey-brown on top with brown wings and tail, and grey under parts. Bird length is about 15 cm (6 inches). There are four subspecies.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Oenanthe-oenanthe
NAME: ‘Wheatear’ would refer to the bird’s white rump (Choate). Latin genus and species names ‘Oenanthe’ means a ‘bird’ and also some ‘plant’, and ‘flower’, so we have ‘flower bird’ (Choate).
HABITAT: Rocky tundra in summer, open country in winter.
DIET: Insects, berries.
NESTING: Nest located in a hole under a rock. Between four and seven light blue eggs are laid, incubated by female. Chicks fed by both parents.
DISTRIBUTION: Globally distributed. Breeds in most of Europe and Eurasia, in Yukon, Alaska, along the coasts of Greenland and Baffin Island.
Distribution Map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_wheatear – /media/File:Oenanthe_oenanthe_map.svg
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island, sightings listed as ‘accidental’ so far, in spring and fall. See note below on bird vagrancy.
CONSERVATION: Widespread, not at risk.
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.
SIMILAR SPECIES: (with male) Northern Shrike, Loggerhead Shrike
REFERENCES: https://www.borealbirds.org/bird/northern-wheatear
http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/linnut/wheatear (Nature Gate Finland)
https://birdatlas.mb.ca/accounts/speciesaccount.jsp?sp=NOWH&lang=en (Manitoba Breeding Bird Atlas)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_wheatear
https://app.bto.org/birdfacts/results/bob11460.htm (British Trust for Ornithology)
http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/757/overview/Northern_Wheatear.aspx

Northern Wheatear, male - Norway - June 2011 - photo by Andreas Trepte
Northern Wheatear, male – Norway – June 2011 – photo by Andreas Trepte
Northern Weatear, female - Heligoland, Germany - Oct. 2014 - photo by Andreas Trepte
Northern Weatear, female – Heligoland, Germany – Oct. 2014 – photo by Andreas Trepte
Northern Wheatear, juvenile - Dec. 2008 - photo by Jonn Leffmann
Northern Wheatear, juvenile – Dec. 2008 – photo by Jonn Leffmann

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