Wheatear Bird: Identification and Migration

Wheatear Bird: Identification and Migration

The Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) is a small passerine bird previously considered to be part of the thrush family (Turdidae); however, they are more commonly thought of as members of the flycatcher family, (Muscicapidae).

These rather elegant looking species have a white rump, blue/grey back, black cheeks, white eye strips and a pale orange chest.
The name Wheatear refers to their prominent white rump and is derived from the Old English for ‘white’ (wheat) and ‘arse’ (ear). This is why this smart looking bird can easily be identified by its striking white rump as it flies away. 

It is a summer visitor to the UK and arrives early March and leaves in September for warmer climates. They are strong-flying residents and favour the habitat of rocky regions, pastures, moorland and heath. They may also be seen along the coastline while migrating.
They are mainly known as a ground-dwelling bird that can be seen hopping and running along looking for food - their diet mostly consists of insects and other invertebrates, but it will also eat berries.
These lovely little creatures are a treat if you are lucky enough to see one; You could be on a nice walk along the coast or even near some hills and one could hop by or you might spot a white flash of the wheatears rump, you never know.

Written by Tina Jakes

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