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Mourning Wheatear - BirdForum Opus

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Photo by RedBishop
Photo taken: Israel, Western Negev
Oenanthe lugens

Includes Western Mourning Wheatear = Maghreb Wheatear


Male: Black throat and sides of head connects with black in wings and on mantle. Underside and uppersides mostly pale, buffy; undertail coverts darker buff than belly. Tail with dark central feathers and dark terminal band on rest of tail is equal width.
Female: like male in most subspecies, but typically much less strongly marked in subspecies halophila.


A black morph (Basalt Wheatear) exists in southern Syria and Jordan which only shows white on undertail coverts, tail, possibly rearmost uppertail coverts.

Similar species

Pied Wheatear, Finsch's Wheatear.


Africa and Middle East


Three subspecies recognized:

O. l. halophila is sometimes split as Western Mourning Wheatear = Maghreb Wheatear. A recent study proposes splitting of O. l. persica.
Abyssinian Wheatear was considered conspecific with this species.

Basalt Wheatear is usually seen as a morph of subspecies O. l. lugens, but may deserve status as at least a subspecies


Flat to very steep terrain mostly with boulders and with limited vegetation.



  1. Birdforum thread discussing Mourning Wheatear

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