Our Beautiful World

Stonechats, Saxicola

Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra 
Stonechat, Saxicola torquatus
Grey Bushchat, Saxicola ferreus

Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra
© http://www.ecosystema.ru/

The genus Saxicola (Etymology: "rock-dweller", from Latin saxum, a rock + incola, dwelling in), the stonechats or chats,
is a genus of 15 species of small passerine birds restricted to the Old World. They are insectivores occurring in open
scrubland and grassland with scattered small shrubs.

Genus Saxicola - bushchats and stonechats (c.15 species)
Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra
   White-browed Bush Chat or Stoliczka's Bushchat Saxicola macrorhynchus  
   White-throated Bush Chat or Hodgson's Bushchat Saxicola insignis

Canary Islands Stonechat or Fuerteventura Chat, Saxicola dacotiae
European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola
Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maurus
Stejneger's Stonechat Saxicola stejnegeri
Stonechat, Saxicola torguata??
African Stonechat, Saxicola torquatus
Madagascar Stonechat Saxicola sibilla
Reunion Stonechat Saxicola tectes
White-tailed Stonechat Saxicola leucurus
Pied Bush Chat or Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata
Jerdon's Bush Chat or Jerdon's Bushchat Saxicola jerdoni
Grey Bush Chat or Grey Bushchat Saxicola ferreus
White-bellied Bush Chat or White-bellied Bushchat Saxicola gutturalis
Species status possible, but not yet verified:
Ethiopian Stonechat Saxicola (torquatus) albofasciatus
Formerly included in Saxicola, but now treated in a separate genus:
Buff-streaked Chat Campicoloides bifasciatus (syn. Oenanthe bifasciata, Saxicola bifasciatus)

Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra

Photo: Marek_Szczepanek

Winchat is only known by a few. Yet it often sits in a bush or in the top of a thistle, on a straw,or on an electric wire.
Or it may be on its way to and from a plant, or hunting for insects.
It is, however, quite common in Souther Norway, even also up to the far north, to Finnmark.

Photo: Jörg Hempel

In the autumn the winchat flies to Africa, near Equator, to the savannahs.
During wintertime, the male has weaker colours, and is then more like the female.

Photo © Jørgen Scheel
The winchat is not a famous singer, but it happens it imitates other birds.
It is said that it has imitated as many as 20 different orther birds.

Stonechat, Saxicola torquatus

A male African Stonechat in South Africa
Photo: Derek Keats

The African Stonechat, Saxicola torquatus, is a species of the Old World flycatcher family, Muscicapidae, inhabiting sub-
Saharan Africa and adjacent regions. Like the other chats, it was long assigned to the thrush family, Turdidae, to which the
chats are convergent. Its scientific name refer to its appearance and habitat and means "collared rock-dweller": Saxicola from
Latin saxum ("rock") + incola ("one who dwells in a place"), torquatus, Latin for "collared".

The males have a black head, a white half-collar, a black back, a white rump, and a black tail; the wings are black with a
large white patch on the top side of the inner wing. The upper breast is usually dark orange-red, with a sharp or gradual
transition to white or pale orange on the lower breast and belly depending on subspecies. In a few, black replaces the
orange breast feathers in part or entirely.

Females have brown rather than black above and on the head with an indistinct paler eyebrow line, chestnut-buff rather
than orange below, and less white on the wings. Both sexes' plumage is somewhat duller and streakier outside the breeding

It has a scattered distribution across much of sub-Saharan Africa, occurring locally as far north as Senegal and Ethiopia.
Outlying populations are found the mountains of southwest Arabia and on Madagascar and Grande Comore. It is non-
migratory, moving only locally if at all. As a result, it has developed much regional variation, being divided into about 15 subspecies. For more information of subspecies, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Stonechat

Grey Bushchat, Saxicola ferreus

Grey Bushchat Saxicola ferreus in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh, India
Photo: J.M.Craig

The Grey Bushchat, Saxicola ferreus, is a species of bird in the Muscicapidae family.

It is found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Taiwan,
Thailand, and Vietnam.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.


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