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European Stonechat - BirdForum Opus

European Stonechat
Photo by IanF
Zinc Works Road, Seaton Carew, Cleveland, UK, June 2007
Saxicola rubicola



  • Black head
  • White half-collar
  • Black back
  • White rump
  • Black tail
  • Black wings with a large white patch on the top side of the inner wing
  • Dark orange-red upper breast
  • White or pale orange lower breast and belly
Photo by Geminineil
East Sussex, October 2010


  • Brown above and on head
  • Indistinct pale eyebrow line
  • Chestnut-buff underparts


Found in Europe (mainly S and W), northwestern Africa and Turkey.


Formerly included in Common Stonechat together with African Stonechat and Siberian Stonechat.


Two subspecies recognized[1]:

  • S. r. hibernans:
  • S. r. rubicola:
Photo by johnty52
Ynys Las, North Wales, August 2012


Open rough scrubland and rough grassland with scattered shrubs.

On migration may be found in drier areas.


Most often seen in pairs perched up on a stick or shrub. It flies down onto the ground, returning to the same perch. Often flicks its wings.


This species eats mainly insects and worms.


Photo by coastwanderer
Blackhall Rocks, County Durham, England, September 2015

The nest is well hidden inside a clump of vegetation and consists of an untidy bowl of grass and rootlets. It is lined neatly with rootlets and animal hairs. Four to six eggs are laid and there may be two broods.


  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. BirdLife International
  3. The Observer's Book of Birds' Eggs ISBN 0723200602

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