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Blackstart - BirdForum Opus

Photo by UlfL
Niamey, Niger, October 2007
Oenanthe melanura

Cercomela melanura


14–16 cm

  • Brownish-grey plumage (lighter underparts)
  • Black tail
  • Dark alula

Middle Eastern races have bluer plumage


Photo by A. Meir
Eilat, Israel, December 2007

North Africa, Middle East and Arabian Peninsula
Northern Africa: Egypt
Western Africa: Mali, Niger, Chad, Cameroon
Eastern Africa: Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia
Middle East: Turkey, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Arabian Peninsula, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman



There are 6 subspecies[1]:

  • O. m. ultima:
  • O. m. airensis:
  • O. m. lypura:
  • O. m. aussae:
  • O. m. melanura:
  • O. m. neumanni:

It's placed in genus Cercomela by Clements.


Breeds in rocky deserts and mountains.


Resident. Not shy.


Often fans wings and tail when landing.


It nests in a rock crevice the clutch consisting of 3–5 eggs.


The diet includes insects.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Collins Bird Guide ISBN 0 00 219728
  4. Wikipedia

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