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
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Myrmecocichla
M. monticola
Binomial name
Myrmecocichla monticola
(Vieillot, 1818)
Mountain Wheatear.png
     resident range

Oenanthe monticola

The mountain wheatear or mountain chat (Myrmecocichla monticola) is a small insectivorous passerine bird that is endemic to southwestern Africa.[2]

Range and habitat[edit]

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.


Along with other chats, this species was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but based on studies published in 2004 and 2010, the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae is now preferred. The mountain wheatear was formerly placed in the genus Oenanthe. Molecular phylogenetic studies published in 2010 and 2012 found that the species was not closely related to the other members of Oenanthe and instead was genetically similar to the chats in the genus Myrmecocichla.[3][4] The species was therefore assigned to Myrmecocichla.[5][6]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Oenanthe monticola". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ Sinclair, Ian; Ryan, Peter (2010). Birds of Africa south of the Sahara (2nd ed.). Cape Town: Struik Nature. p. 466. ISBN 9781770076235.
  3. ^ Sangster, G.; Alström, P.; Forsmark, E.; Olsson, U. (2010). "Multi-locus phylogenetic analysis of Old World chats and flycatchers reveals extensive paraphyly at family, subfamily and genus level (Aves: Muscicapidae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 57 (1): 380–392. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.07.008. PMID 20656044.
  4. ^ Aliabadian, M.; Kaboli, M.; Förschler, M.I.; Nijman, V.; Chamani, A.; Tillier, A.; Prodon, R.; Pasquet, E.; Ericson, P.G.P.; Zuccon, D. (2012). "Convergent evolution of morphological and ecological traits in the open-habitat chat complex (Aves, Muscicapidae: Saxicolinae)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 65 (1): 35–45. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2012.05.011. PMID 22634240.
  5. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2016). "Chats, Old World flycatchers". World Bird List Version 6.2. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  6. ^ Clement, Peter; Rose, Chris (2015). Helm Identification Guides: Robins and Chats. London: Christopher Helm. p. 645. ISBN 978-1-4081-5597-4.
  • Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Struik 2002) ISBN 1-86872-721-1

External links[edit]