Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Female Wheatear, Unst, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image Scotland

The Wheatear breeds in most of Europe and throughout most of central and northern Asia as well as Greenland and arctic North America. The entire world population winters in Africa south of the Sahara. See the distribution map at Birdlife International. It is one of the earliest arrivals in spring reaching Britain in March.

Juvenile Wheatear, St. Abbs, Scotland, June 2002 - click for larger image Its breeding habitat is diverse ranging from tundra to moorland, cliff tops and sand dunes. Like other wheatears it requires ready made nest sites in rocks or burrows beside open areas rich in insects during the breeding season.

The tail is black and white in all plumages and in flight the white on the tail is highly visible which gave rise to its name derived from "white arse"

Juvenile Wheatear, St. Abbs, Scotland, June 2002 - click for larger image The male has grey upperparts and crown, a white supercilium, black eye-mask and wings and buff on the throat and breast. The female, as seen in photo 1, is grey-brown above with darker wings and a pale supercilium. The juvenile seen in photos 2 and 3 (June) has a mottled appearance and brown on the wings while that in photo 4 (August) shows a juvenile moving into 1st winter plumage.
Juvenile Wheatear, St. Kilda, Scotland, August 2003 - click for larger image
Male Wheatear, Kingussie, Scotland, June 2015 - click for larger image
Male Wheatear, Unst, Shetland, Scotland, May 2004 - click for larger image
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