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Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe

wheatear.jpg (29699 bytes) Photo John Webb 


male wheatear   Photo Toni Asher
This study was begun in 1990 to investigate the timing of migration and the abundance of the Greenland race Oenanthe oenanthe leucorrhoa. Both the nominate race O.o.oenanthe and the Greenland race O. o. leucorrhoa, occur on the Norfolk coast in both spring and autumn but this project concentrates on the spring passage. Between 1990 and 2002 we trapped and ringed 1,158 birds.  Additionally from spring 2000 until spring 2002 they were colour ringed with combinations as follows:
Left leg: 2 colours.  Right leg: Metal ring over 2 colours.
Colours that were used are red, yellow, lime green, white, blue, orange.
It is unlikely that any of these birds are alive now as it is 31 years since the study ended.


This 12 year study showed that birds on passage in March are predominately the nominate race O.o.oenanthe. Greenland race wheatears O .o.leucorrhoa begin to arrive in mid April and then the ratio of Greenland:nominate is approximately 50:50. 

In May, Greenland wheatears predominate and outnumber the nominate race. The ultimate destinations of these Greenland race birds, whether it is Greenland or Iceland is not  known as there have been no recoveries from the breeding grounds!

An analysis of wing lengths and weights of Wheatears Oenanthe oenanthe caught on the north west Norfolk coast in spring to determine the incidence and timing of the Greenland race between 1990 - 1996 was undertaken and a Pdf file can be downloaded here.


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male wheatear.jpg (26317 bytes)
Adult male Wheatear 26kb Nominate race oenanthe
female wheatear.jpg (23685 bytes)
Female Wheatear  23kb Nominate race oenanthe
2nd year male.jpg (25864 bytes)
2nd year male Wheatear 25kb Nominate race oenanthe
habitat.jpg (36885 bytes)
Where the birds are caught 36kb
W2.JPG (687619 bytes)
Another view of the habitat 33kb
Female Wheatear 30kb
2nd year male.jpg (25879 bytes)
2nd year male 25kb
female4.jpg (25091 bytes)
Female Wheatear 25kb
Adult male.jpg
Greenland race leucorhoa adult male 28kb
Open wing view of Greenland race adult male
greenland fem1.jpg (24114 bytes)
2nd year Greenland female 24kb
greenland fem2.jpg (30104 bytes)
Open wing view of Greenland female
These photos of Greenland race Wheatears were taken by Group member Trevor Girling


           Web design and content John Middleton North West Norfolk Ringing Group                                    Web consultant Kelvin Baldwin