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Northern wheatear

Diputación de Málaga

Northern wheatear

Small to medium sized bird (approximately 16 cm or 6.5 in) that is characterized by the design of its tail and its terrestrial habits. The males have bluish grey back, black wings and ocher breast. They have a black eye mask with a white eyebrow. The females lack the mask and their plumage is generally greyish brown. In both sexes the tail, typical of the wheatears, is white with a black inverted T.

Where it lives

Present in grasslands and mountainous rocky areas where there is no tree cover and there are stones to be able to nest on the ground.

How it lives

Summer bird that breeds in Malaga and crosses the Sahara to spend the winter. The breeding begins in April and ends in July, making 2 annual layings of 2 to 9 eggs. Nest located on the ground, in burrows of rabbits, rock fields or mouseholes. It feeds on insects, spiders, small snails, and other invertebrates that it catches on the ground. The diet is also completed with small fruits and seeds. It is a bird with very terrestrial habits and likes to walk, take small jumps on the ground and perch upright on the rocks.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Present in medium and high mountain areas in Sierra de las Nieves, Sierra de Líbar and Sierras de Tejeda y Almijara. In the Great Path it can be watched in stages 11, 23 and 33.

Curious facts

During the pre-nuptial migratory passage the northern wheatears, like other passerines, fly across the Mediterranean. When they arrive in Malaga they usually rest on the beaches. In April large concentrations of these birds can be seen on the coast.

Animal Life > Birds
Common name
Northern wheatear
Scientific name
Oenanthe oenanthe
De matorral
Wintering Summer Resident Migration