Sunday, 7 June 2015

Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura)

Latin Etymology: Oenanthe (specific name for Northern Wheatear) leucura ("white-tailed")
                                               Pair of Black Wheatear (subspecies O. l. leucuraat Patones, Spain - June 2015

Featured Subspecies: Oenanthe leucura leucura
Weight: 37-44g  /  Length: 18cm  /  Wingspan: 26-29cm
NO UK STATUS IUCN Red List: Least Concern 

Although fairly small, the Black Wheatear I would personally say is one of the most handsome birds I saw on my trip to Madrid - very similar in form (and white rump) to the Northern Wheatear that British birdwatchers would be more familiar with.  It's plumage is clearly very different to that bird though, and unlike that species, the male and female are very similar with only a slight variation in tone of the "black" on the back to differentiate this.  One major difference is more behaviour based - while the Northern Wheatear is very bold and often can be approached quite closely, the Black Wheatear is apparently quite flighty and shy from humans - this pair staying safely at the top of the cliff away from us.

Related Species:
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Oenanthe
Subspecies: O. l. leucura, O. l. riggenbachi

 - Sighting Locations -
SPAIN - Spanish - Collabra negra ("Black Wheatear")
Scarce and local Resident
 - MADRID 2015 TRIP: Pair at Patones 

Further Notes: BirdForum Opus, IUCN Red ListRSPB, Wikipedia, Xeno-canto

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