The whinchat can imitate the songs of at least a dozen other tpes of birds!
Whinchat Scientific Classification
Scientific name
Saxicola rebetra
Whinchat Physical Characteristics
Brown, White, Orange
47,000 pairs in the United Kingdom
2 – 7 years
0.46 to 0.92 ounces
Whinchat Distribition

Whinchats are ample, however their numbers are declining.

The English identify for this diminutive hen comes from its behavior of hanging across the gorse vegetation of its native western Europe and Britain and its name. It’s solitary, although each mother and father increase the younger, and it makes a surprisingly strenuous migration from Europe to sub-Saharan Africa. Its one vulnerability is that it likes to construct its nest on the bottom, and too usually these nests get run over by mowing machines.

5 Superb Details

Examine these 5 superb information concerning the whinchat.

  1. It’s a solitary little hen although it could create small teams within the fall.
  2. Its eggs are robin’s egg blue.
  3. Adults molt all their feathers within the late summer season.
  4. Although it’s extensively distributed in a lot of Europe, it’s thought-about uncommon in Eire.
  5. The Whinchat generally breeds with the European stonechat.

The place To Discover the Whinchat

In spring and early summer season, the whinchat is present in a lot of Europe and western Asia. It’s discovered as far north as Norway and as far south as Greece and as far east because the Caucasus Mountains. Within the late summer season and fall, it migrates to sub-Saharan Africa. There it may be discovered as far west as Senegal and as far east as Kenya and as far south as Zambia, although some birds have been present in South Africa.

Whinchat Nests

The whinchat’s nesting habitat is on the bottom, often amongst shrubbery. That is problematic as a result of it exposes the nest to being trampled by livestock or run over by farm tools. The feminine builds the nest out of moss and dried grass and features it with hair and the finer blades of bent grass.

Scientific Name

The whinchat’s scientific identify is Saxicola rubetra. Saxicola comes from the Latin phrases for “rock” which is saxum and “dwelling” which is incola. Rubetra can be Latin and means “small hen.” So the scientific identify can imply “small hen who lives among the many rocks.” Whin is a reputation for gorse, a kind of shrub that’s present in western Europe, and chat describes the hen’s calls. There are not any subspecies.


The whinchat is a small hen that’s about 4.7 to five.65 inches lengthy with a weight of between 0.46 to 0.92 ounces. Its legs are lengthy in proportion to its physique, and it has a brief tail. It isn’t a boldly coloured hen, however each female and male are brown, with mottled dorsal areas, a buff-coloured breast and throat, and a paler stomach. The tail could be very darkish brown or black, and the tail feathers are white on the base. The male turns into a bit extra colourful through the breeding season. He develops a black masks with a white stripe that runs from his beak to the again of his head and a white stripe on every cheek. His throat and breast change from buff to a extra orange shade, and he has small white patches on his wing coverts. The feminine is duller and lacks these patches. Outdoors of the breeding season, women and men are arduous to inform aside.


The whinchat is a sprightly little hen that’s usually seen hopping over the bottom and flicking its wings and tail. It has a considerably grating however smooth name, although it solely offers alarm calls whereas in its wintering grounds. It’s often solitary however might be seen in little household teams when it migrates. It prefers pasture or evenly farmed grassland with an honest variety of shrubs, fence posts, or perhaps a sturdy plant on which to perch. These perches are the place they suss out the world for potential prey and show to fellow whinchats. After the breeding season, grownup whinchats utterly molt their feathers however develop new feathers in time emigrate. In addition they have a partial molt within the spring, simply earlier than they fly north from their wintering grounds.


Whinchats are largely insectivores, although they’ll additionally take spiders, worms, and snails. At times they’ll eat fruit and seeds.

Whinchat Predators and Threats

As a bit of hen, the whinchat has quite a lot of predators. They embrace mustelids akin to stoats and weasels and birds of prey such because the merlin, which is a small however rapacious falcon. Magpies and crows take hatchlings and cuckoos apply nest parasitism. The cuckoo lays its egg in a whinchat nest after which leaves. The whinchat mother and father then dedicate a lot of their time to elevating the large cuckoo chick to the detriment of their very own chicks. Dangerous climate additionally impacts the hen’s potential to breed efficiently.

Conservationists consider that on prime of those threats the whinchat is imperiled by the mowing of their nesting habitat.

Replica, Infants, and Lifespan

Whinchats breed on the finish of April and into Might. The feminine builds the nest by herself and lays from 4 to seven blue eggs. These eggs hatch eleven to 14 days later, and each mother and father feed the chicks. The chicks depart the nest after they’re about two weeks previous, despite the fact that they’re not but capable of fly. They’ll fledge just a few days after this however their mother and father nonetheless feed them for one more two weeks or so. Whinchats aren’t notably lengthy-lived birds and solely have a lifespan of about two years, although some have been recognized to stay to almost seven years.

Whinchat Inhabitants

Whinchats are pretty ample the place they stay although their inhabitants is declining largely on account of silage reducing that disrupts the nesting habitat. The hen’s conservation standing is Least Concern.


  1. ITIS, Available here: https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=562837#null
  2. Datazone, Available here: http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/whinchat-saxicola-rubetra
  3. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whinchat
  4. Science Direct, Available here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1617138119302055
  5. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Available here: https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/whinchat/
  6. AnAge, Available here: https://genomics.senescence.info/species/entry.php?species=Saxicola_rubetra

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