Mourning wheatear

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Mourning wheatear
Oenanthe lugens Petra, Jordan 1.jpg
In Petra, Jordan
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Oenanthe
Species: O. lugens
Binomial name
Oenanthe lugens
(Lichtenstein, 1823)

The mourning wheatear (Oenanthe lugens) is a bird, one of 14 species of wheatear found in northern Africa and the Middle East. It is a small passerine in a group formerly classed as members of the thrush family Turdidae, but now more generally considered to be part of the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae.

The mourning wheatear was first described by Martin Lichtenstein in 1823. It is found in semi-desert areas in North Africa and the Middle East. It is sexually dimorphic with the females sporting more subtle plumage.

An intriguing dark morph of the mourning wheatear (the so-called basalt wheatear) occurs in the basalt desert of northeast Jordan.

The north African subspecies halophila, considered by some to be a separate species, western mourning wheatear, occurs from Morocco east to western Egypt. The Egyptian populations are discussed in Baha El Din and Baha El Din (2000).[2] These birds differ from typical halophila in exhibiting less sexual dimorphism, and displaying a prominent white wingbar, and thus are closer to the nominate race.

Panov (Wheatears of Palearctic, 2005) discusses the latest taxonomy for the mourning wheatear superspecies. The mourning wheatear is split from Abyssinian wheatear (Oenanthe lugubris), which is the species found south of the Sahara.

It has been recorded in the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2013). "Oenanthe lugens". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Baha El Din, Sherif and Mindy Baha El Din (2000) The occurrence of Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens halophila in Egypt Sandgrouse 22(2): 109-12

Further reading[edit]

  • Boon, Leo J. R. (2004) 'Mourning Wheatears' illustrated Dutch Birding 26(4): 223-36