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Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe


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Northern Wheatear breeding plumage
credit: Philippe Kurlapski/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Turdidae, Thrushes view all from this family

Description All birds have white rump and upper tail. Call is like two stones being hit together. Adult male has blue-gray crown, nape, and back, dark wings and dark eye mask with white supercilium above. Underparts are pale, but neck and breast are variably flushed orange-buff. Female is similar, but plumage has less color and contrast. Juvenile is warm buff, darker above than below.

Dimensions Length: 5 1/2-6" (14-15 cm)

Range Alaska, Mid-Atlantic, New England, Eastern Canada

Discussion Mainly Eurasian species that breeds (May-Aug) on tundra in Alaska and Canadian Arctic; vagrant throughout North America; winters in Africa. Plumpbodied and adopts upright posture when standing.