Wheatear

Wheatear

Scientific name: Oenanthe oenanthe

Did you know: Wheatears travel from Africa to the United Kingdom every springtime, making them seasoned travellers. They are often spotted in upland areas and place their nest in crevices between rocks.

What Do Wheatears Look Like? (How to Identify Them)

Male wheatears boast distinctive black cheeks, white eye stripes, and grey crowns. Their appearance includes a blue-grey back, black wings, and a pale orange chest. The striking feature is a white rump with a distinctive black ‘T’ shape on their tail. 

Females, on the other hand, exhibit browner tones with speckled patterns. In size, wheatears are smaller than blackbirds but larger than robins.

Differences Between Male And Female Wheatears

Male wheatears do have black-coloured cheeks, a stripe of white on their eye, and a greyish crown, while females display brown and orange tinted cheeks. They have a greyish-brown eye mark and crown. 

Males and females share a bright white rump with a black-coloured ‘T’ shape on their tails, along with a breast in an orange shade. 

What Do Wheatears Eat?

Wheatears have a diet primarily consisting of larvae, insects, and invertebrates. Occasionally, they also consume berries.

Where Do Wheatears Live? (Including Migration Info)

Wheatears prefer open upland habitats in Scotland, north and south west parts of England, and also in Wales. They can also be spotted along the coast in other areas when migrating. 

These birds arrive in the UK in March and head south to Africa in September and October.

Bird Calls & Songs (The Unique Voices of Wheatears)

While wheatears are not known for elaborate songs, they communicate through a series of soft, melodious chirps. These sounds are often heard in their breeding grounds, creating a distinctive auditory experience.

Fun Wheatear Facts (Kid Friendly)

  • Wheatears embark on one of the longest migrations of any songbird, flying from Africa to the UK each spring.
  • The name “wheatear” comes from the Old English word for ‘white’ (wheat) and ‘arse’ (ear), referring to their prominent white rump.
  • Wheatears typically build their nests in crevices between rocks, burrows, and even in holes that are man-made.
  • These birds fly non-stop across the Atlantic to northern Spain and then on to West Africa during migration.

Facts About The Wheatear

Diet: Insects and larvae.
Bird Family: Chats
Length: 14.5-15.5cm
Wingspan: 26-32cm
Weight: 17-30g
Scientific Name: Oenanthe oenanthe

The Wheatear Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

Wheatear Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile