- Red-breasted Wheatear
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Red-breasted Wheatear Oenanthe bottae Scientific name definitions

Nigel Collar, Guy M. Kirwan, and David Christie
Version: 2.0 — Published April 15, 2022
Revision Notes

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Introduction

The Red-breasted Wheatear is a relatively common inhabitant of highland zones in both southwest Arabia (mainly in Yemen) and across much of Ethiopia, being represented by separate subspecies either side of the Red Sea (some authorities have recently postulated that these might be better treated as species). It is a large and rather chunky wheatear which resembles the arguably more familiar Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina), which is only a migrant to the present species’ distribution, but displays a much more striking and contrasting face pattern than the latter, as well as darker and grayer upperparts, and much more colorful underparts. This wheatear is found on open, level ground or slightly sloping hillsides with sparse vegetation, lava fields, fallow fields, and cultivated terraces in high plateaux above 1,700 m (in Arabia, but down to 950 m in Africa), mainly at 2,300–3,000 m, with occasional records to 3,600 m. It routinely nests under boulders or in earth banks, rock crevices, stone walls, or old rodent burrows, sometimes as deep as up to 1 m inside the hole; however, this species’ breeding ecology is still very poorly known, with even the eggs remaining undescribed, and nothing having been recorded concerning incubation or fledging periods.

Recommended Citation

Collar, N., G. M. Kirwan, and D. A. Christie (2022). Red-breasted Wheatear (Oenanthe bottae), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (N. D. Sly, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.rebwhe1.02