Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Finsch's Wheatear (Oenanthe finschii)


French: Traquet de Finsch German: Felsensteinschmätzer Spanish: Collalba de Finsch

Saxicola Finschii


, 1869,



Has been treated as conspecific with O. lugens#R; interface of race barnesi and race persica of latter worthy of analysis. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. f. finschii (Heuglin, 1869) – Asia Minor and Levant (including extreme N Israel) E to NW & SW Iran (E to W Elburz and Zagros Mts); non-breeding also coastal E Mediterranean and Middle East.
  • O. f. barnesi (Oates, 1890) – E Turkey (where most are intergrades with nominate#R), S & E Caucasus, NE & E Iran (from E Elburz Mts) and W Turkmenistan E to SC Kazakhstan, E Afghanistan and W Pakistan; non-breeding also Mesopotamia and SW Asia.
  • Descriptive notes

    14 cm; 22–32 g. Rather stocky and large-headed. Breeding male nominate race is white from crown (sometimes stained buff-grey) to tail, latter with black central... read more


    Song, by both sexes (mostly by male, often in descending zigzag display-flight), a series of... read more


    Breeds in rocky sloping country, and particularly limestone canyons and ravines, in and at bases of... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates, especially ants and beetles, also seeds and other vegetable material. Stomachs of 31 birds from SW Iran, Jun–Jul and (... read more


    From Apr in W of range, to Jul in Armenia; May–Jun in Caucasus and C Asia, but reportedly as early as mid-Feb in SC Asia (but not... read more


    Migrant, partial migrant and, in S of breeding range, probably sedentary or making short-distance... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. In c. 2000 total European population judged to be 100,000–310,000 pairs and considered generally stable. Uncommon in Caucasus and C Asia;... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. (2019). Finsch's Wheatear (Oenanthe finschii). 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 18 September 2019).