Finsch’s Wheatear

The Finsch’s Wheatear, Oenanthe finschii , is a wheatear, a small insectivorous passerine that was formerly classed as a member of the Thrush family Turdidae, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher, Muscicapidae.

This 15-16 cm long bird breeds in semi-desert and stony hillsides from Turkey east to Afghanistan. It is a short-distance migrant, wintering in Egypt and the Middle East. It wanders to Cyprus with some frequency. The nest is built in a rock crevice, and 4-5 eggs is the normal clutch.

In summer the male Finsch’s Wheatear is a white and black bird. The white crown, central back and belly contrast with the black face, throat and wings. The tail and rump are white, with an inverted black T giving a pattern like Black-eared Wheatear, but with a uniformly wide terminal band.

The female is brown-grey above, becoming dirty white below. The tail pattern is similar to the male’s.

Finsch’s Wheatear feeds mainly on insects. Its call is a whistled tsit, and the song is a mix of clear notes with whistles and crackling.

This bird was named for the German naturalist Otto Finsch.

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