Mobile bird identification
Bird Field Guide
Adult Male

The male Wheatear has a pale buff breast, black wings, grey crown and back and a black patch across the face through the eye. In winter the males back is more brown than grey.


Oenanthe oenanthe
Chats and Thrushes Menu
Common summer visitor in most of Europe including the UK, Ireland, Iceland, France, Spain and Eastern Europe.
A bird of moorland and open grassy areas, typically at higher altitudes.
The Wheatear's name is derived from Anglo-Saxon words for white rump, which is usually what is seen as the bird flies away and is one of the birds most distinctive features. The Wheatear is one of the first summer migrants to arrive in the UK, usually arriving at the beginning of March.
Order: Passeriformes

Family: Turdidae

Genus:  Oenanthe

Species: O. oenanthe
Male Wheatear feeding in typical manner
Thanks to: (Modified)
Male Wheatear identification
Pale grey crown and back
White tail with black tip
Black patch across face
Black wings
Orange buff breast
Male Wheatear
Thanks to: (Modified)
This image illustrates the striking black wings and black patch on the birds face, coupled with the white and black tail a Wheatear can appear as a black and white bird at a distance.
Male Wheatear flying
Distinctive tail in flight
Adult Female
Female Wheatear identification
Female Wheatear flying
Brown wings
Sandy grey back
White tail with black tip
Orange buff breast
Pale flash above eye
Female Wheatear
The white flash above this female Wheatear's eye is particularly prominent, note the orange buff breast and the sandy-grey back.