Family Old World Flycatchers and Chats (Muscicapidae)

Least Concern

Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra)


French: Tarier des prés German: Braunkehlchen Spanish: Tarabilla norteña

Motacilla Rubetra


, 1758,





Europe E to W Siberia, E (probably also NW#R) Turkey, Caucasus and NW Iran; non-breeding Africa.

Descriptive notes

12–14 cm; 13–26 g. Breeding male has buff-streaked blackish face and crown, with prominent white supercilium, narrow white line from chin to neck side, buff... read more


Song, by male only (often at night in spring; rarely in winter quarters), a series of loud, fast... read more


Breeds in wet meadows, pastures, bogs, upland grassland, bracken-covered hillsides, heath, dry or... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly invertebrates, supplemented in autumn by fruit or seeds. Animal food includes adult and larval beetles of at least twelve families,... read more


Mid-Apr to early Aug in NW Europe. Territory less than 1 ha, average 0·43 ha in Netherlands, at least 0·75 ha in W Germany;... read more


Migratory, most wintering in tropical Africa; loose aggregations form during migration. Leaves... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). European population in mid-1990s estimated at 2,441,507–3,044,673 pairs (highest numbers in Belarus, Latvia and Finland), with... read more

Recommended citation

Collar, N. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2019). Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra). 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 16 December 2019).