Saxicola Bechst., Orn. Taschenb., p. 216, 1802. Type, Saxicola rubicola, by subsequent designation, Selby, 1825.
The name Pratincola has hitherto been used for the Stone-Chats but this is not available, having been previously used by Schrenk for the Pratincoles (1798). In 1825 Selby designated the Stone-Chat Saxicola rubicola as the type of the genus Saxicola of Bechstein. This name must therefore stand. As Saxicola cannot therefore be used for the Wheatears the name AEnanthe Vieillot 1816, will have to be used for this genus, the type by tautonymy being AEnanthe aenanthe (Linn.).
In Saxicola the bill is rather less than half the length of the head, broad at the base and well notched; the rictal bristles are very strong; the wing is well pointed and the first primary is large, varying from half to one-third the length of the second; the tail is decidedly shorter than the wing and is only slightly rounded; the tarsus is moderate. The sexes are invariably dissimilar and the seasonal changes of plumage are very marked.
Key to Species.
A. Plumage entirely black and white S. caprata, p. 24.
B. Plumage not entirely black and white.
a. Chin and throat black S. torquata, p. 28.
b. Chin and throat white or pale rufous.
a1. Inner webs of tail-feathers white .... S. macrorhyncha, p. 32.
b1. Inner webs of tail-feathers black or brown.
a2. Wing over 80 mm S insignis, p. 33.
b2. Wing under 80 mm S. torquata, p. 28.
c. Chin and throat brown S caprata, p. 24.
Saxicola caprata. Motacilla caprata Linn., S. N., i, p. 335,1766. Type-locality: Luzon.
Key to Subspecies.
A. Below very rusty, the white absent or confined to a very small area on abdomen and under tail-coverts.
a. Wing 67 to 72, generally under 70 mm... S. c. burmanica, p. 24.
b. Wing 71 to 81, generally over 75 mm. .. S. c. atrata, p. 25.
B. Below much paler, the white of the under tail-coverts extending to abdomen and
posterior flanks and often right up to breast S.c. bicolor, p. 26