Breeding male © Oscar Campbell eBird S53673470 Macaulay Library ML 145187391
Female/immature © Jon Lowes
Immature male © Lars Petersson | My World of Bird Photography
Female/immature © Lior Kislev

Eastern Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe melanoleuca

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A small, slim wheatear. Males striking: black wings contrast with a whitish back and crown and a black mask through the eye. Throat can be white or black. Females have a more muted version of the male’s overall pattern. The tail has a complicated black-and-white pattern that is conspicuous in flight. Found in open habitats with scattered trees, including savanna, rocky mountain slopes, and barren pastures. The song is a quick, exuberant jumble of scratchy notes. Very similar to Western Black-eared Wheatear, but usually distinguished by being much paler and more washed-out overall, with only a hint of a yellowish wash on the head, back, and breast. Also similar to Pied Wheatear, but male’s black face patch is not connected to the black wing, and female is slightly warmer and browner than the grayish female Pied.