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Study Guide: Pied Wheatear

Pied Wheatear, male

Pied Wheatear – Oenanthe pleschanka Similar to Black-eared Wheatear but the black facial area connects to the black wings and the back is entirely black. Pied Wheatears have a rather distinct tail pattern with an uneven black terminal band that extends farther up the outer part of the tail than the center. Sometimes the Pied is… Read more

Birding Israel: A Study Guide to Wheatears

White-crowned Black Wheatear – Oenanthe leucopyga

Wheatears are a fascinating group of Passerines of open landscapes, deserts and steppe-like terrain and happen to be my favorite group of desert birds. Israel’s wide variety of arid landscapes and desert habitats make it a favorite place for Wheatears, and therefore a primary place to begin your understanding of them.

Study Guide: Red-rumped Wheatear

Red-rumped Wheatear is an extremely rare migrant and summer visitor that has bred in Israel only on a few occasions.

Study Guide: Eastern Black-eared Wheatear

Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, male with pale throat. © Jonathan Meyrav

A rather slim and long-tailed Wheatear with warm upperparts, a dark facial area, white- to off-white underparts and unique tail pattern.

Quiz Yourself: Wheatears of Israel

Test your knowledge of desert wheatears with the following quiz.

Answers to Wheatears of Israel Study Quiz

Pied Female Kurdish Male Kurdish Female White-crowned Black Juvenile Mourning Male Hooded Female White-crowned Black Male Desert Male Desert Female Finsch’s Male Cyprus Male Pied Male Isabelline Juvenile Isabelline Male Finsch’s Female Hooded Male Eastern Black-eared Northern Wheatear Basalt… Read more

Study Guide: Kurdish Wheatear

Kurdish Wheatear – Oenanthe Xanthoprymna

Kurdish Wheatear belongs to the red-tailed Wheatear complex, a group characterized by orange, white and black tail patterns.

Study Guide: Cyprus (Pied) Wheatear

Cyprus (Pied) Wheatear – Oenanthe cypriaca

Cyprus Wheatears are closely related and very similar in plumage to Pied Wheatears. Most Cyprus Wheatears are darker on average and creamier buff below.

Study Guide: Finsch’s Wheatear

Finsch’s Wheatear – Oenanthe finschii, male. © Jonathan Meyrav

The Finsch’s Wheatear is a striking black-and-white Wheatear with a clean all-white back and cap.

Study Guide: Isabelline Wheatear

Isabelline Wheatear. © Jonathan Meyrav

Isabelline Wheatear is the most common Wheatear in Israel, incredible numbers can be seen on migration and it is also a fairly common breeder in suitable habitats all over Israel, the Negev, Judea and Samaria hills, the Golan Heights and Mt. Hermon.

Study Guide: Northern Wheatear (Old World)

The only representative of the Wheatears with a foothold in the New World, Northern Wheatear is a beautiful Wheatear with a silver grey back, dark mask and ginger tones below.

Study Guide: Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear – Oenanthe deserti , male. © Jonathan Meyrav

Desert Wheatear – Oenanthe deserti A small Wheatear of the open desert with creamy buff plumage tones. Desert Wheatear is easily identified by its cream-colored upper parts, dark facial area connected to a dark wing and distinct frosty-white scapulars in all plumages. The all-black tail pattern is also unique to this species. Where can I… Read more

Study Guide: Hooded Wheatear

Hooded Wheatear – Oenanthe monacha. © Jonathan Meyrav

Hooded Wheatear – Oenanthe monacha Hoodeds are among the rarest of Israel’s “black-and-white” Wheatears, and the species is relatively poorly understood. The Hooded is similar in plumage to Mourning Wheatear but is clearly larger and with a stronger, longer bill. The black facial area extends down to the breast, more so than on Mourning, and… Read more

Study Guide: Mourning Wheatear

Mourning Wheatear – Oenanthe lugens. © Jonathan Meyrav

A dainty and elegant Wheatear with a striking black-and-white plumage. Mourning Wheatear has a dirty-white cap, a dark facial area extending down to the throat and rusty buff undertail coverts, which are the most important ID feature.

Study Guide: White-crowned Black Wheatear

White-crowned Black Wheatear – Oenanthe leucopyga

A large and impressive Wheatear with a distinct black-and-white plumage. White-crowned is the only Wheatear in Israel with black underparts and adult birds are unmistakable with their strongly contrasting snow-white cap.

Israel: Timeless Appeal and Unforgettable Birding

Mourning Wheatear, Israel © Jonathan Meyrvav

From the dawn of history Israel has been perceived by many as the “center” of the world. Explorers, Crusaders and religious figures have long been drawn to this country searching, exploring and thriving to unveil the mysteries of this unique land. Nowadays, Israel is a mecca for serious bird watchers who want to witness one of earth’s greatest bird migration spectacles.

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