Puneet Varma (Editor)

Heuglin's wheatear

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Kingdom  Animalia
Class  Aves
Family  Muscicapidae
Scientific name  Oenanthe heuglini
Phylum  Chordata
Order  Passeriformes
Genus  Oenanthe
Rank  Species
Heuglin's wheatear wwwlarsfotoseimageslarge8408Heuglins20Wheat
Similar  Somali wheatear, Red‑breasted wheatear, Forest scrub robin, Mountain robin‑chat, Congo moor chat

Heuglin's wheatear (Oenanthe heuglini) is a small passerine bird in the wheatear genus Oenanthe. It occurs in a band across Africa to the south of the Sahara.



It is 13-14 centimetres long. The adult has dark grey-brown upperparts, a black mask and a white stripe above the eye. The breast is orange-buff shading into the paler throat and belly. The tail is black apart from white sides to the basal half. The uppertail-coverts and undertail-coverts are white and the underwing-coverts are buff-pink.


The song is long, complex and includes imitations and the call is a harsh chack.

Distribution and habitat

Heuglin's wheatear inhabits the Sahel region from Mauritania eastwards through Mali, Niger, Chad and Sudan to Eritrea. It extends south as far as northern parts of Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Uganda and north-west Kenya. It is found in open country with rocks and short grass and is often seen on burnt ground. Some birds are resident but others make migratory movements.


Heuglin's wheatear feeds mainly on insects. It wags its tail and spreads its tail when displaying. Rather shy and in the breeding season usually seen in pairs, small groups recorded in winter.

Taxonomy and naming

It was formerly classified as a subspecies of red-breasted wheatear (O. bottae) of the Ethiopian Highlands and Arabia but is now usually regarded as a separate species due to differences in size, habitat and behaviour. Its name honours the German explorer and ornithologist Theodor von Heuglin.


Heuglin's wheatear Wikipedia

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Congo moor chat
Forest scrub robin
Somali wheatear