Black Wheatear

Black Wheatear


Profile Black Wheatear
[order] Passeriformes |

[order] Passeriformes | [family] Muscicapidae | [latin] Oenanthe leucura | [UK] Black Wheatear | [FR] Traquet rieur | [DE] Trauersteinschmätzer | [ES] Collalba negra | [IT] Monachella nera | [NL] Zwarte Tapuit

Zwarte Tapuit determination

copyright: A. Grimwade

Somewhat rounder-headed and bulkier than White-crowned Black Wheatear but no larger, with wings slightly shorter and rounder. Rather large, big-headed, and deep-chested black wheatear with broad white rump and black T on white tail. Call distinctive. Sexes distinguishable at close range, no seasonal variation.

In contrast to other west Palearctic wheatear, confined to west Mediterranean lower miiddle latitudes, largely under coastal and even oceanic influencesrather than arid or montinental. Avoids flat terrain, including wetlands, and infrequently in contact with man over most or range.

Oenanthe leucura is resident in Iberia and France, with Europe accounting for less
than half of its global range. Its European breeding population is small (as few as
4,100 pairs), and underwent a large decline between 1970-1990. Although the species
declined in Portugal (and went extinct in France) during 1990-2000, the trend of the
stronghold population in Spain was unknown. Nevertheless, its population size renders
it susceptible to the risks affecting small populations, and consequently the species is
provisionally evaluated as Rare.
This wheatear is breeding in north-western Africa, the Iberian Peninsula and extreme southern France. It inhabits arid, stony plateau country in mountainous regions and along coasts, scattered with rocky boulders. It is sedentary. The total population of the European Union is currently estimated at 8300 breeding pairs, but it has strongly declined since the beginning of the century. The reasons for this decline are not known but could be related to a succession of hard winters

Mainly insects. Prey usually caught on ground by ‘hop and search’ technique. May also fly from perch to catch prey on ground. Will search around large rocks or probe cracks and holes for prey, and scratch for food under bushes or other vegetation.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 100,000-1,000,000 km². It has a large global population, including an estimated 8,100-31,000 individuals in Europe (BirdLife International in prep.). Global population trends have not been quantified, but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from]

Mid April in East Pyrenees (France), Mid March in South Spain, March-April in Algeria and Tunisia. Nest site is a hole in rock wall, cliff, cave, or man-made wall.Nest, cup of dead grass and rootlets, incorporating feathers and wool. Normally builds platform of small stones at sides of nest; can be 10-15 cm wide or even more, and incorporating several hundred stones, but in such cases undoubtedly built up over several years. 3-5 eggs,
incubation 14-18 days, by female, young fledge after 14-15 days.

Generally sedentary, although some individuals disperse after breeding, and partial or total altitudinal migration occurs in some mountain regions, e.g. Atlas (Morocco) and Sierra Nevada (Spain).
In view of sedentary nature, has occurred as a vagrant over a surprisingly wide area, north to Shetland (Scotland) and Norway and east to Bulgaria and Israel. Origin of stragglers unknown; timing of records suggests that many may be dispersing juveniles.


  1. Measurements
  2. spanwidth min.: 26 cm
  3. spanwidth max.: 29 cm
  4. size min.: 18 cm
  5. size max.: 19 cm
  6. Breeding
  7. incubation min.: 14 days
  8. incubation max.: 18 days
  9. fledging min.: 14 days
  10. fledging max.: 15 days
  11. broods 1
  12. eggs min.: 3
  13. eggs max.: 5
  14. Conservation Status
  15. Zwarte Tapuit status Least Concern


  1. Oenanthe leucura syenitica
  2. Oenanthe leucura leucura
  3. Oenanthe leucura
  4. EU sw, also n Africa
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  • Hi, is it possible, that I have seen black wheatear at valencia airport, outside the gates, about 4 – 6 exx. They were too black for wagtails and shorter tails
    Sort of similar behaviour.