Mourning wheatear

The mourning wheatear (Oenanthe lugens) is a bird, one of 14 species of wheatear found in northern Africa and the Middle East. It is a small passerine in a group formerly classed as members of the thrush family Turdidae, but now more generally considered to be part of the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae.

Mourning wheatear
Oenanthe lugens Petra, Jordan 1.jpg
In Petra, Jordan
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Oenanthe
O. lugens
Binomial name
Oenanthe lugens
(Lichtenstein, 1823)

The mourning wheatear was first described by Martin Lichtenstein in 1823. It is found in semi-desert areas in North Africa and the Middle East. It is sexually dimorphic with the females sporting more subtle plumage.

Panov (Wheatears of Palearctic, 2005) discusses the latest taxonomy for the mourning wheatear superspecies. The mourning wheatear is split from Abyssinian wheatear (Oenanthe lugubris), which is the species found south of the Sahara. The Maghreb wheatear (O. halophila) and basalt wheatear (O. warriae) were formerly considered subspecies of the mourning wheatear, but were split as distinct species by the IOC in 2021.[2] The Egyptian populations of O. lugens are discussed in Baha El Din and Baha El Din (2000).[3] These birds differ from halophila in exhibiting less sexual dimorphism, and displaying a prominent white wingbar, and thus are closer to the nominate race.

It has been recorded in the following countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2013). "Oenanthe lugens". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Species Updates – IOC World Bird List". Retrieved 2021-06-13.
  3. ^ Baha El Din, Sherif and Mindy Baha El Din (2000) The occurrence of Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens halophila in Egypt Sandgrouse 22(2): 109-12

Further readingEdit

  • Boon, Leo J. R. (2004) 'Mourning Wheatears' illustrated Dutch Birding 26(4): 223-36