Sunday 6 April 2014


According to the literature I'm at 50%, having now seen 11 of 22 Oenanthe species. This isn't enough. For the record, here they are, and where I've seen them.

Black Wheatear - Morocco and Spain
Black-eared Wheatear - Spain, Southern France and Cyprus
Cyprus Wheatear - can't remember. Malta?
Desert Wheatear - Morocco and various UK vagrants
Hooded Wheatear - Cyprus (briefly!)
Isabelline Wheatear - Bulgaria and Cyprus
Mourning Wheatear - Morocco
Northern Wheatear - Wanstead!!
Pied Wheatear - Bulgaria
Red-rumped Wheatear - Morocco
White-crowned Black Wheatear - Morocco

This leaves the following species, including Hooded which clearly I need photos of, and where to see them. You will see that some of these locations could be slightly problematic. Whilst I would dearly love to see all of these, I'd rather not be chained up in a hole sending videos home to the UK government every now and again.

Arabian Wheatear - Arabian peninsula.
Capped Wheatear - Kenya to South Africa.
Finsch's Wheatear - Turkey to Afghanistan, winters in Egypt with small numbers in Cyprus.
Heuglin's Wheatear - transitional area in sub-Saharan Africa, from Mauritania in the west to Sudan in the east.
Hooded Wheatear - eastern Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula.
Hume's Wheatear - eastern Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan.
Kurdish Wheatear - Turkey, Middle East, winters in Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Sudan etc.
Mountain Wheatear - Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.
Red-breasted Wheatear - Eritrea and Ethiopia, western Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Red-tailed Wheatear - Turkey through to Afghanistan, winters Arabian Peninsula and Iran/Iraq.
Somali Wheatear - Ethiopia and Somalia.
Variable Wheatear - Egypt, Israel, India, and lots of places ending in stan.

So what is the next target, and when? Cyprus was the very obvious place to go, but with that done (and if I want to avoid conflict zones and scary places), Turkey (3) and Egypt (4) seem to feature quite heavily. Five could perhaps be seen in the UAE, and intriguingly, there are two in South Africa. If I am serious about this then I am clearly going to need to do some research re timings and locations. It seems quite a fun thing to pursue though, and I have made a pretty good start. Now is when it starts getting difficult though. 


  1. I have much the same list - the Arabian stuff would be nice but not WP, i suppose it depends on how 'listy' one is? Would love to bird the 'stans' but not at the present time as i think they would spot an AK47 in the old hand-luggage......

    Laurie -

  2. Though on the bright side, you'd get the Wheatears and your family would get to see a bit more of you, if you were sending back videos from a hole in a 'stan':-)

  3. Plus, depending on your view of what splits count there's Seebohm's, Persian, Maghreb.