Isabelline Wheatear

The Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina) are small perching birds that are generally considered to be a member of the Old World flycatcher family: Muscicapidae.

Distribution / Range

Isabelline Wheatears are migratory birds that breed in southern Russia and central Asia to Northern Pakistan, and winter in Africa and India.

They are very rare vagrant to western Europe.


They resemble female Northern Wheatears except the Isabellines are larger in size, measuring 15 – 16.5 cm in length (6.5 inches). They are more upright and the plumage is more tawny in color.

They have more black on the tail, and the axillaries (feathers under the wing – the “armpit” or “wingpit” of a bird) and underwing coverts (feathers) are white.

Males and females look alike.

Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina - Cyprus
Isabelline Wheatear, Oenanthe isabellina - Cyprus

Diet / Feeding

They mostly feed on insects.

Photo of author

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