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Common or Eastern Stonechat Netherlands 22th of April 2020 (1 Viewer)


Frank van de Velde
Yesterday in the last light of the evening I noticed a Stonechat with a somewhat uncommonly large collar nearly circumventing its head. Environment: Very small mixed dry grassy and wet reed land area with some wild horses and cattle near Amsterdam.

Due to location it seems completely unlikely that I saw an Eastern Stonechat (Saxicola maurus). However its large white collar matches the Collins bird guide image for Eastern Stonechat better than that for the Common Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola).

Looking at various internet directions for ID-ing both kinds of Stonechat doesn't really help, as in my inexperienced eyes both species overlap considerably in their distinguishing features (like belly colour; streaky rump; black or brown upperwing colour; white in upperwing; spotted upper-tail coverts; and size of collar). Only underwing colour seems to be a defining characteristic, but unfortunately I missed that... So I cannot tell both kinds apart at all (especially when taking age and season into account as well).

Although in "my" bird the extensive white collar, and perhaps the very dark face, might suggest Eastern, I think that conversely the amount of orange on rump and the largely brown upperwings point to Common.

Could someone help me to definitely ID this (highly likely) Common Stonechat and elaborate a little on the characteristics used for this identification?

Bye, Frank


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Well-known member
I'm afraid the photos don't show enough to be sure but as you say a European is of course much more likely. The seemingly large white neck patch is not a good feature as it's exposure is depending on posture. It's a 2cy male that might explain why it is relatively pale...

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