RSPB Scotland’s Allie McGregor shares five facts about wheatears.

5 facts about wheatears

Wheatears are one of our first spring arrivals. They usually arrive in March seeking out rocky and stony habitats including pastures, moorland, coastal grassland, and farmland. They usually leave for Africa in around October.

Their name derives from Old English ‘hwit’ and ‘aers’ which essentially translates as ‘white rump’.

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They make an epic migration journey. Wheatears spend their winters in Africa before heading north. Some wheatears make transatlantic journeys to breed in Greenland or Canada, only briefly stopping off in the UK or bypassing it altogether on their journey.

Wheatears are mainly ground-dwelling. They have been known to nest in places such as crevices in rocks, abandoned bunny burrows and even man-made places like drainage pipes and holes in walls.

wheatear perched on rock

They have had many nicknames which reflect their vocalisations, behaviours and appearance. Some of these include; chick-chack, fallow chat, coney chuck, stone chucker, white tail and clod hopper.