Whinchat perched on a stem


Whinchats are summer visitors to Europe and Asia after arriving from their wintering grounds in Africa and the Middle East. In Britain they breed in the north and west upland areas and like open country to live in, such as moorland, heathland and grassland. They nest on the ground, concealed in clumps of grass.

Whinchats mostly eat insects, catching them on the ground or in flight after short sallies from a low perch. Spiders, worms and snails are also eaten as are berries in the autumn. The males are more brightly coloured than the females and can resemble the related stonechat, the biggest difference being the prominent white stripe above the eye.

Scientific name: Saxicola rubetra

Rank: Species

Watch video clips from past programmes (1 clip)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.


The Whinchat can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, Europe, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Whinchat distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Year assessed: 2009

Classified by: IUCN 3.1