Black-Eared Wheatear


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Black-Eared Wheatear

 

(Oenanthe hispanica), a bird of the family Turdidae. A number of zoologists distinguish two species: the pied wheatear (O. pleschanka) and the black-eared wheatear (O. hispanica).

The black-eared wheatear is about 16 cm long and weighs about 17 g. The crown, rump, and abdomen are white; the remaining plumage is black in the male and brown in the female. The black-eared wheatear is widely distributed in the steppes and semideserts from Rumania to northeastern China; in the USSR it is found from the Dnestr to Transbaikalia. It winters in northeast Africa. The bird inhabits rocky steppes and mountain slopes and nests in rock crevices, cliff walls, ravines, and abandoned buildings. There are five or six light-blue speckled eggs per clutch. Both the male and female incubate the eggs for about 13 days. The black-eared wheatear feeds on insects and spiders.

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A green heron was found in the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, which brought some hope, then a black-eared wheatear arrived on St Mary's the day after we left.
AN INVASION of Spanish rarities, including a Scops Owl, a Black-eared Wheatear, a Night Heron, a Woodchat Shrike and several Alpine Swifts and Hoopoes, appeared in Cornwall at the end of March following a long spell of southerly winds.
LATE June was enlivened by the arrival of a black-eared wheatear in Dorset.