Wheatear


Wheatear
Wheatears
Northern Wheatear (male)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Oenanthe
Vieillot, 1816
Species

See text.

The wheatears (play /ˈhwtɪər/) are passerine birds of the genus Oenanthe. They were formerly considered to be members of the thrush family Turdidae, but are now more commonly placed in the flycatcher family Muscicapidae. This is an Old World group, but the Northern Wheatear has established a foothold in eastern Canada and Greenland and in western Canada and Alaska.

Contents

Etymology

The name "wheatear" is not derived from "wheat" or any sense of "ear", but is a 16th-century linguistic corruption of "white" and "arse", referring to the prominent white rump found in most species.[1]

Oenanthe is also the name of a plant genus, the water dropworts, and is derived from the Greek oenos (οίνος) "wine" and anthos (ανθός) "flower". In the case of the plant genus, it refers to the wine-like scent of the flowers.[2] In the case of the wheatear, it refers to the Northern Wheatear's return to Greece in the spring just as the grapevines blossom.[3]

Description

Most species have characteristic black and white or red and white markings on their rumps or their long tails. Most species are strongly sexually dimorphic; only the male has the striking plumage patterns characteristic of the genus, though the females share the white or red rump patches.

Species list

Mountain Wheatear

There are 22 wheatear species:[4]

Behaviour

Wheatears are terrestrial insectivorous birds of open, often dry, country. They often nest in rock crevices or disused burrows. Northern species are long-distance migrants, wintering in Africa.

References


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Wheatear — Wheat ear , n. (Zo[ o]l.) A small European singing bird ({Saxicola [oe]nanthe}). The male is white beneath, bluish gray above, with black wings and a black stripe through each eye. The tail is black at the tip and in the middle, but white at the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • wheatear — type of bird, 1590s, back formation from white ears, lit. white arse (see WHITE (Cf. white) + ARSE (Cf. arse)). So called for its color markings; Cf. French name for the bird, cul blanc, lit. white rump …   Etymology dictionary

  • wheatear — ► NOUN ▪ a songbird with black and grey, buff, or white plumage and a white rump. ORIGIN apparently from WHITE(Cf. ↑whitish) + ARSE(Cf. ↑arse) …   English terms dictionary

  • wheatear — [hwēt′ir΄, wēt′ir΄] n. [earlier white ears < WHITE + eeres, ers, var. of ARSE: in reference to its white rump] any of a genus (Oenanthe) of small, long legged, migrating thrushes native to the Old World, esp. a species ( O. oenanthe) now in… …   English World dictionary

  • wheatear — noun Etymology: back formation from earlier wheatears wheatear, probably by folk etymology or euphemism from white + arse Date: 1591 any of various small thrushes (genus Oenanthe); especially a white rumped one (O. oenanthe) of northern North… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • wheatear — /hweet ear , weet /, n. any of several small, chiefly Old World thrushes of the genus Oenanthe, having a distinctive white rump, esp. O. oenanthe, of Eurasia and North America. [1585 95; prob. back formation from wheatears, for *whiteers white… …   Universalium

  • wheatear — [16] The wheatear is etymologically the ‘white arsed’ bird. The word is a backformation from an earlier wheatears, a singular form which came to be regarded as plural. And wheatears in turn was an alteration (due no doubt to confusion with wheat) …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • wheatear — /ˈwitɪə/ (say weetear) noun any of various birds of the genus Oenanthe, family Muscicapidae, which have a white rump, as the northern wheatear, O. oenanthe, of the Northern Hemisphere. {backformation from wheatears, conceived of as a plural,… …   Australian English dictionary

  • wheatear — kūltupiai statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas atitikmenys: lot. Oenanthe angl. wheatear vok. Steinschmätzer, m rus. каменка, f pranc. traquet, m ryšiai: platesnis terminas – kiauliukės siauresnis terminas – baltagalvis kūltupys siauresnis… …   Paukščių pavadinimų žodynas

  • wheatear — [16] The wheatear is etymologically the ‘white arsed’ bird. The word is a backformation from an earlier wheatears, a singular form which came to be regarded as plural. And wheatears in turn was an alteration (due no doubt to confusion with wheat) …   Word origins


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