Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)


French: Traquet isabelle German: Isabellsteinschmätzer Spanish: Collalba isabel

Saxicola isabellina


, 1829,

Nubia, north Africa


Sometimes considered conspecific with both O. bottae (including O. frenata) and O. heuglinii. Monotypic.


NE Greece, S Bulgaria, Middle East and S & E Ukraine E to Transbaikalia, Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, NC China and W Pakistan; winters in W Africa E across Sahel to Arabian Peninsula and S Asia (Pakistan and NW India), locally in Middle East.

Descriptive notes

16–17 cm; 21–39 g. Resembles non-breeding O. oenanthe, but slightly larger and paler, larger bill, longer legs (giving more upright stance),... read more


Song very distinctive, mainly by male (occasionally by female), in flight and on ground in both... read more


Arid, open, sparsely vegetated country, including dry plains, mountain and lowland steppes, semi-... read more

Food and feeding

Invertebrates and vegetable matter; mainly insects 2–40 mm in length, and in particular beetles and ants. Animal prey recorded... read more


Mid-Apr to mid-Jul in Israel and Apr–May in Jordan; Mar–Jun in Armenia and Baluchistan; sometimes as early as mid-Feb in... read more


Migratory; winters in Africa (mainly Sahel zone and NE & E Africa), Arabian Peninsula and SW... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally common to very common. European population in mid-1990s estimated at 423–1378 pairs, with additional 100,000–1,... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N. (2019). Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina). 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 12 December 2019).