Wheatear, Variable


Name: Wheatear, Variable

Scientific name: Oenanthe picata

Type: Wheatear

Color: Black,White

Habitat: Desert,Fields

Size: 15cm

Conservation status:



Three races occur; much individual variation among females.

picaia: (breeds Iran) resembles Hume’s but black crown, upperparts and ‘bib’ almost without gloss; rest of underparts white, undertail-coverts sometimes buff in autumn. Female above usually brown where male black, ‘bib’ often rufous-brown but throat sometimes black; rest of underparts creamy buff to white. See Hume’s for separation.

capistrata: (may occur E Iran) male resembles male Pied but crown often white in spring (usually grey, edged white in Pied), usually pale grey-buff in autumn (in Pied often darker with white hindneck); underparts, below black ‘bib’, white (tinged buffish in Pied); flight-feathers below paler grey man in Pied; in autumn lower breast and ventral region often rusty and pale feather-fringes on black throat and mantle inconspicuous (extensive in Pied). Female variable, usually dull grey-brown above, chin and throat darker or, often, warm buff-brown with paler buff belly; sometimes difficult to separate from female Pied in worn plumage (which has darkish throat); the dark terminal tail-band is broader and of more even width, than Pied’s, with just slight dark upward-extension on outer tail-feathers (in Pied, narrower tail-band has a greater black extension on outer tail-feathers). See also Mourning Wheatear.

opistholeuca: (infrequently Iran) male resembles young White-crowned Black Wheatear (which has black crown) but is smaller and has a complete black tail-band. Female sooty brown where male black.

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