Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)

Taken at Otmoor, Oxon., on October 30th 2017.
(1/100th sec at f10. © David Hastings)


L: 12 - 14cm

The Whinchat is a small perching bird. It hops or runs on the ground, and often perches on low bushes or fences. It is streaky brown above and warm orange-buff on the breast. It has a prominent white eye stripe.

It is mostly found in the north and west of the UK, and in southern England on migration. It is a widespread summer visitor in Europe. It winters in central and southern Africa.

Its breeding habitat is uncultivated, usually damp areas, typically with rough vegetation and scattered small shrubs.

Whinchat like to perch on elevated spots such as shrubs, from where they make sallies to catch insects, mostly taken off the ground, but sometimes also in flight.

Whinchat numbers in Britain more than halved between 1995 and 2008, the cause(s) being unknown. As a result it has Red status on the UK list. There are about 47000 breeding pairs in the UK.


30-Oct-2017 : Otmoor, Oxon (1)

21-Aug-2016 : Pewsey Downs NNR, Wilts (4juv)
05-May-2014 : LLandewi-Brefi, Ceredigion (4+)
11-Sep-2010 : Nr Tarifa, Spain
02-May-2007 : Cagliari, Sardinia