Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe)
Posted on August 6, 2012 by Darren Williams.
It is said that the name Wheatear derives from the 16th-century linguistic corruption of ‘white arse’, a perfect description of how this bird appears as it flies away. Indeed, it is the white rump contrasting with the inverted black ‘T’ in the tail which separates a Wheatear in any plumage from all other British birds. Males in spring are handsome birds with blue-grey backs and black eye masks. Females and first winter birds are brown above and usually lack the dark eye patch. Birds breed mainly in western and northern Britain and western Ireland, although smaller numbers do breed in southern and eastern England. It winters in central Africa, It mainly breeds in holes in the ground or in walls in areas of short turf such as moors, downs and cliff-tops.