Posted by: Dan | February 16, 2010

Spotlight: Isabelline Wheatear

Spring migration isn’t in full swing for 2010 just yet, but the first seasonal travelers are starting to pass through Cyprus in small numbers. The first Barn Swallows were seen about a little over a week ago, and this past week the first Great Spotted Cuckoos and Isabelline Wheatears have been reported.

In a couple weeks we should start seeing Northern Wheatear, possibly a few Desert Wheatear, and later, Black-eared Wheatear. Then around mid-March the warblers should start to pass through. Early warblers that we expect include Subalpine Warbler, Ruppell’s Warbler, and Orphean Warbler. Then later warblers, passing in April, include Common and Lesser Whitethroats, Sedge Warblers, Great Reed Warbler, Wood Warbler, Willow Warbler, and Bonelli’s Warbler.

But I did say I’d put a spotlight on the Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)…

Isabelline Wheatear (Credit: S Charlie Brown /

The Isabelline Wheatear is a migratory insectivorous bird. It breeds in southern Russia and central Asia to Northern Pakistan, wintering in Africa and India, and they pass through the Eastern Mediterranean in quite substantial numbers.



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