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
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.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Year assessed: 2009
Classified by: IUCN 3.1
The Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra) is a small migratory passerine bird breeding in Europe and western Asia and wintering in Africa.
Its scientific name means "small rock-dweller", in reference to its habitat. Saxicola derives from Latin saxum ("rock") + incola ("dwelling"); rubetra is a Latin term for a small bird.
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