Whinchat — Saxicola rubetra

Occurs in open country on heathland, moorland, rough pasture, often with eagle-owl. Non-breeding habitats are somewhat similar, favouring open grassland, moorland and woodland clearings. It perches on bushes and fences, descends to the ground to feed, hops around briefly before flying back to the roost. The song consists of rapid, disorderly phrases made up of whistles, trills, and dry wheezes. Calls include short dry wheezes, a quiet «dew», sometimes doubled, and dry «so» notes.

Photo: Look how gorgeous Whinchat — Saxicola rubetra

Description Whinchat — Saxicola rubetra

1800The Saxicola rubetra, commonly known as the European  stonechat, is a small passerine bird belonging to the family Muscicapidae. It is widely distributed across Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa, with its breeding range stretching from the British Isles and Scandinavia in the west to Siberia in the east and from the Mediterranean in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north. During the winter, some populations migrate to southern Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, while others remain in their breeding range throughout the year.

In Europe, the European stonechat is present in countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Greece. In Asia, it can be found in countries like Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, and Iran. Its distribution in Africa covers regions such as Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt.

The European stonechat typically inhabits open landscapes with scattered shrubs and bushes, including heathland, moorland, coastal dunes, and grasslands. It is also commonly found in agricultural areas, such as farmland and pastures, as well as in wetlands and marshes. This bird prefers areas with short vegetation and perches on elevated spots like tree branches, fences, or wires to survey its surroundings and forage for insects and other invertebrates.

The European stonechat is a territorial species, with males singing to defend their breeding territories during the breeding season. Its song consists of a series of melodious and distinctive chirps and trills, often accompanied by a «»tac-tac»» call. The species is known for its striking plumage, with males sporting black heads, orange-red breasts, and mottled brown backs, while females have paler plumage with brownish tones and a prominent pale stripe above the eye.

Overall, the European stonechat is a widespread and adaptable bird, well-suited to a variety of habitats across its extensive distribution range. Its presence in diverse ecosystems across Europe, Asia, and Africa makes it an important and charismatic species in the avian community.

Listen to them sing Whinchat — Saxicola rubetra

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