The genus Saxicola, the stonechats or chats, is a genus of 14 species of small passerinebirds restricted to the Old World. They are insectivores of open scrubland and grassland with scattered small shrubs.
Genetic evidence presented in the recent monograph by Urquhart & Bowley 2002 strongly supports the splitting of the Common Stonechat (Saxicola torquata sensu lato) into three species, African Stonechat (S. torquata), European Stonechat (S. rubicola) and Asian Stonechat (S. maura). This treatment is likely to become standard in the future.
The Siberian Stonechat or Asian Stonechat (Saxicola maura) is a member of the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae.
In the past it was usually classified as a race of the Common Stonechat, Saxicola torquata maura, but recent genetic evidence strongly supports its status as a full species, Saxicola maura distinct from the African Stonechat (Saxicola torquata sensu stricto) and the European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola).
It resembles the closely related European Stonechat, but is typically paler, with a white rump and whiter underparts with less orange on the breast, and with distinctly longer primary feathers in the wing.
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