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Black Wheatear - BirdForum Opus

Male, subspecies O.l. leucura
Photo by Kevin Wade
Ronda, Southern Spain, November 2020
Oenanthe leucura


16-18 cm
Male - all black apart from white rump, vent and proximal sides of tail, which has what looks like a black inverted T-shape. In flight has a white flash on the underside of the wing.
Female - similar, dark brown rather than black.

Male, subspecies O.l. riggenbachi in flight
Photo by NJLarsen
Seldja Gorge, Tunisia, December 1985

Similar species

Juvenile White-crowned Wheatear lacks white crown and is best separated by much less black on outer tail feathers giving a different tail pattern. The "Basalt" form of Mourning Wheatear does not overlap in range by a large margin.


Western north Africa and Iberia.



There are 2 subspecies:

  • O. l. leucura:
  • O. l. riggenbachi:


Cliffs and rocky slopes.



It nests in crevices in rocks laying 3-6 eggs.


The diet includes insects.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Grant, P.J., K. Mullarney, L. Svensson, D. Zetterstrom (1999) Collins Bird Guide: The Most Complete Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe. Harpercollins Pub Ltd ISBN 0 00 219728 6
  3. Collar, N. (2020). Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.blawhe1.01

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