Mountain wheatear

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Mountain wheatear
Oenanthe monticola, manlik, a, naby Tierpoort, Pta.jpg
♂, nominate race
Oenanthe monticola 1.jpg
♂, western race O. m. atmorii
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Oenanthe
Species: O. monticola
Binomial name
Oenanthe monticola
Vieillot, 1818
Mountain Wheatear.png
Distribution of the mountain wheatear

The mountain wheatear or mountain chat (Oenanthe monticola) is a small insectivorous passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher, Muscicapidae.

This non-migratory wheatear is resident in mountainous and rocky habitats in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and southernmost Angola.

Mountain wheatear is 18–20 cm long, and like other wheatears, it has a distinctive tail pattern, with a white rump and outer tail feathers. Its legs and pointed bill are black.

The male is very variable in plumage, although the tail pattern and a white shoulder patch are always present. A white and black bird. The body plumage varies from pale grey to almost black, and it may or may not have a white crown to the head. The female is entirely dark brown apart from the white rump and outer tail.

The Mountain wheatear's song is a clear melodic whistle interspersed with harsh chatters. It is monogamous and nests on the ground amongst rocks, laying 2-4 white eggs. It eats insects and berries.


  • Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Struik 2002) ISBN 1-86872-721-1

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