|Red-rumped wheatear in Boumalne, Morocco|
The red-rumped wheatear is a compact, big-headed wheatear with a rufous rump and all dark tail. the male has a grey crown and nape with a black throat and face and white supercilium. The shoulders and back are blackk with white fringes to the feathers, the rump and base of the tail are rufous and the distal part of the tail is black. Female is paler with a rufous crown and cheeks. Juveniles are similar to females but are less rufous and do show faint spots and streaks. Length is 16 cm. The fly low to the ground with a loose flapping flight that resembles a skylark.
The territorial song, given by botth sexes, seems to vary geographically from a harsher chattering song in the west to a more melodious. pleasant and repetitive "twee-churr-urr-urr" in Cyrenaica. The courtship song sounds like an old fashioned boiling kettle, a long warbling whistle rising in pitch given in duet by both sexes. The alarm and contact calls are typically chat like harsh clicks.
Distribution and subspecies
There are two recognised subspecies of Red-rumped wheatear, they are:
- Oenanthe moesta brooksbanki Meinertzhagen, 1923 - southern Syria and Jordan to north-western Saudi Arabia and south-western Iraq.
- Oenanthe moesta moesta (Lichtenstein, 1823) = North Africa from extreme north of Mauritania to coastal north-west Egypt.
The red-rumped wheatear avoids real desrets and is normally found in flat areas, especially near saline or barren areas. In Morocco uses more vegetated areas than the desert wheatear and also found in rocky hills.
The red-rumped wheatear has a prolonged breeding season from late February through to June in North Africa, and it may have up to three broods. The nest is usually placed in a small mammal's burrow, up to 2m underground, or sometimes in a natural hole or a cavity in a wall and sometimes hidden under a bush. The nest is a cup made out of plant material and lined with feathers, woo, and hair, and even shed snakeskin. The clutch is b4-5 but very little is known about the breeding behaviour of this species.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Oenanthe moesta". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- "Oenanthe moesta (Lichtenstein, 1823)". Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) (http://www.itis.gov). Retrieved 2016-11-27.
- Snow, D.W.; Perrins, C.M. (1998). The Birds of the Western Palearctic Concise Edition Volume 2 Passerines. Oxford University Press. pp. 1188–1190. ISBN 0 19 850188 9.
- Mark Beaman; Steve Madge (1998). The Handbook of Bird Identification for Europe and the Western Palearctic. Christopher Helm. pp. 616–617. ISBN 0-7136-3960-1.
- "Red-rumped Wheatear Oenanthe moesta (Lichtenstein, MHC, 1823)". Avibase. Denis Lepage. Retrieved 2016-11-27.