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Order Song birds/Passeriformes, Family Thrushes/Turdidae

Desert Wheatear/Oenanthe deserti - Male

L 14½-15½ cm. Breeds on dry, sandy steppelike heath or in semi-desert with scattered bushes, low vegetation and rocks (but shuns pure sand desert). Short-distance migrant. Food insects. Nests in hole in ground or in rock crevice.
IDENTIFICATION: Tail almost all black, white only at very base of sides. Rump buffy-white, conspicuous in flight. Remiges in flight rather light greybrown. - male: Invariably black bib. Resembles black-throated morph of Black-eared Wheatear, but differs in black tail and in having whitish scapulars, not black, so that folded wing shows narrower area of black. In autumn, black areas have pale fringes. 1st-summers have browner wings than adults. - female: Note, besides tail pattern, quite pale and grey-brown colours; breast buff-brown (not orange-tinged); upperparts light yellow-tinged greybuff; scapulars at least as pale as mantle; reddish-brown ear-coverts and dirty yellow-white supercilium. Occasionally has darkish throat.
VOICE: Call a squeaky, drawn-out ‘viieh’, a hard clicking ‘tsack’ and a thin, muffled rattle, ‘tk-tk-tk’. Song characteristic, a rather constantly repeated, always short, clear fluting and tremulous verse dropping in pitch and sounding desperately mournful in tone, ‘trüü-trururu’.

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