42. THE WHEATEAR.
Saxicola oenanthe, (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 332, (1766) ; Hewitson, i. p. 110, pl. xxx. fig. 3 ; Naumann, iii. p. 863, Taf 89, figs. 1, 2 ; Gould, B. of Gt. Brit. ii. pl. 65 ; Newton, i. p. 347 (1873) ; Dresser, ii. p 187, pl. xxi ; Seebohm Cat. B. Br. Mus. V. p. 391 ; Oates, F. Brit Ind. Birds, ii. p. 76 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib., O. p. 352 ; Saunders, p 19 ; Lilford, iii. p. 22, pl. 11.
Motteux-cul-blanc, French ; Caiada, Portug. ; Culiblanco, Span. ; Culbianco, Ital. ; Steinschmatzer, German : Tapint, Dutch ; Stenskvette, Dan., Stendulp, Norweg. ; Stenskvatta, Swed. ; Katgirastis, Lapp ; Kivitasku, Kivi-rastas, Finn. ; Poputchick, Russ. Stendepill, Icel.
Male ad. (Sweden). Upper parts to the rump ashy grey ; forehead, a superciliary line, rump and upper tail-coverts white ; a line from the lores to the ear-coverts black ; wings blackish brown, central rectrices white at the base, otherwise black ; remaining rectrices white broadly tipped with black ; under parts white, or white washed with buff ; under wing-coverts and axillaries mixed black and white ; bill and legs black ; iris brown. Culmen 0.75, wing 3.8, tail 2.35, tarsus 1.1 inch. The female has the upper parts brown ; wings hair brown ; tail as in the male but the black portion is brown in the female, under parts light reddish brown. The young resemble the female. In winter the male has the upper parts more or less brown, the under parts more rufous, the secondaries and wing-coverts edged with rufous, and the female is more rufous in tinge and has the secondaries and wing-coverts edged with rufous.
Hab. Europe generally, north to Iceland and Greenland, south to the Mediterranean, and northern Africa in winter ; Asia Minor and Asia, north to northern Siberia, east to China, and south to N. India ; a somewhat rare visitant to N. America.
Frequents open localities, both barren and fertile, especially stony places. It is essentially a ground bird, not perching on trees or bushes. Its flight is low, and not powerful, and its song, which is uttered either on the wing, or when perched on a stone or clod is sweet, but short. It breeds in the northern and central portions of its range, and its nest, which is large and flat, is loosely constructed of grasses, moss, rootlets, &c., and lined with moss, hair, feathers, wool, and is placed in a hole in a wall, amongst stones, in a rabbit burrow, or under a clod or stone on the ground. The eggs, usually from 5 to 7 in number, are deposited in April or May, and are pale blue, with a faint greenish tinge, usually unspotted, but occasionally with a few red dots ; in size they vary from 0.80 by. 0.57 to 0.90 by 0.65.
Specimens of the Wheatear vary considerably in size, those from Greenland being the largest, and those from Palestine and Egypt the smallest.
42. Saxicola oenanthe
42. THE WHEATEAR.