Whinchat

Irish Name: Caislín aitinn
Scientific name: Saxicola rubetra
Bird Family: Chats
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Conservation status

Status

Widespread summer visitor from April to September to uplands and scrubland throughout Ireland. Scarce passage in spring and autumn mainly to eastern and southern coasts.

Identification

The same size as Robin and Stonechat and broadly resembles the latter species. Frequently uses exposed perches like Stonechat. In all plumages has a grey-brown rump, with a broad black stripe at the base of the tail. The white base to the tail is not obvious. Adult males have a dark head with a broad white supercilium. The back is streaked brown and black. The underparts (throat and breast) are a rich orange-buff. In flight, shows two large white patches on the wing. Adult females are similar to adult male Whinchats, but have a buffy-brown head and beige supercilium. The underparts also tend top be less extensively orange. Juveniles resemble adult females, but have some dark spotting on the breast.

Voice

A soft "yu-tek-tek". Sings mainly at night and so infrequently heard. A distinctive series of whistled notes and rasping sounds, intermixed with mimicked calls and songs of other bird species.

Diet

Insects and other invertebrates.

Breeding

Breeds in a wide variety of habitats, including insect-rich meadows and bracken-covered slopes in uplands. The Irish breeding population has been decling in the last few years.

Wintering

Winters in tropical Africa.

Monitored by

Countryside Bird Survey and BirdTrac

Similar Species

Stonechat

Irish Name:
Caislín cloch
Scientific name:
Saxicola torquata
Bird Family:
Chats