Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura)


French: Traquet rieur German: Trauersteinschmätzer Spanish: Collalba negra

Turdus leucurus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,



NW African race previously treated as O. l. syenitica, but its type comes from Egypt–Sudan border region and clearly refers to a member of the O. lugens complex#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. l. leucura (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – E Portugal, Spain and extreme SE France.
  • O. l. riggenbachi (E. J. O. Hartert, 1909) – NW Africa S to NW Mauritania and E to NW Libya (Jebel Nafusa).
  • Descriptive notes

    18 cm; 37–44 g. Male nominate race is dull black, with white lower­most underparts (from behind legs), white rump and tail, latter with black central feathers and... read more


    Song a series of brief mellow phrases, each 2–4 seconds long, with pauses of 2–8... read more


    Steep rocky arid landscapes with rock walls, scattered boulders, bare ground and sparse scrub,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates, small lizards and plant matter. Arthropod food especially beetles (of at least five families) and ants, also grasshoppers,... read more


    Jan–Jun (mainly Mar–May) in NW Africa; nest-building begins mid-Feb (eggs mostly from mid-Mar) in S Spain, and from mid-Apr in... read more


    Largely or strictly sedentary, but situation variable and perhaps complex. Altitudinal movements... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Comparatively rare in terms of global numbers. European population in mid-1990s estimated at 4313–15,352 pairs, the great majority in Spain; by... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2020). Black Wheatear (Oenanthe leucura). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 29 January 2020).