A project of the SRITA Association

Northern wheatear

The northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) is a passerine bird from the family of Muscicapidae. It is widespread in Europe, Asia and North-Canada. Prefers open, dry lands, mountainous areas as well as lowlands.

The body length is 14-15 cms, the head and the back of the male are grey, the face and wings are black, meanwhile the throath is brownish. The female has similar but more pale, brown feathers. Their tales are white with black edge, the black part forming the shape of the letter “T”.

It is a migratory bird, in Romania we will see them between the months of March and September. The female builds its nest in cracks, galleries dug by rodents or between rocks. The female lays 4-7 eggs, brooding chicks for two weeks. In an additional two weeks they are able to fly. The chicks are fed by both male and female. It collects its prey on the ground, feeding on insects, arthropods, molluscs, worms.

The European population is estimated to 4.5-13 million nesting pairs, the Europeans represent 25-49% of the global population. In Romania their number is estimated to 225-343 thousand pairs. The oldest ringed bird was 11 years old at the time it was caught again.