Saturday, 15 August 2009

European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)

OTHER NAMES: Stonechat
Latin Etymology: Saxicola ("stone dweller") rubicola ("ruddy")
Adult male European Stonechat (subspecies S. r. hiberans) at Trevose Head, Cornwall - April 2015

Featured Subspecies: Saxicola rubicola hiberans
Weight: 13-17g  /  Length: 12-13cm  /  Wingspan: 20cm
UK GREEN LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

The European Stonechat is a great example of a locally common bird - in unsuitable habitat it will be rare or absent, but in the sorts of places it favours - heath, moor, marsh and coast it can easily be one of the most abundant species  I've seen it in many of the habitats I've visited, from the grassy dunes on Lindisfarne to the Cheviot Hills to the Marshes at Rainham. I haven't quite managed to pick a common theme beyond somewhere with a decent amount of ground cover. Quite bold, it likes singing from perches, and can often be easy to photograph.  Many authorities have split it from the the Siberian Stonechat and the Canary Island Stonechat, but this isn't necessarily reflected everywhere, but for now I will keep them separate.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Saxicola
Subspecies: S. r. hiberans, S. r. rubicola

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - Locally common breeding resident (59,000 pairs)
 - Birds seen at sites including Trevose HeadRainham MarshesDitchford Gravel Pits and Keswick.

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPBWikipedia, Xeno-canto

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