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Encyclopedia > Stonechat
European Stonechat
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Saxicola
see text

The genus Saxicola, the stonechats or chats, is a genus of 14 species of small passerine birds 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.

Species list, following Urquhart & Bowley 2002:

  • Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra
  • Stoliczka's Bushchat or White-browed Bushchat, Saxicola macrorhyncha
  • Hodgson's Bushchat or White-throated Bushchat, Saxicola insignis
  • Fuerteventura Chat or Canary Island Stonechat, Saxicola dacotiae
  • European Stonechat, Saxicola rubicola (previously S. torquata rubicola)
  • Siberian Stonechat or Asian Stonechat, Saxicola maura (previously S. torquata maura)
  • African Stonechat, Saxicola torquata
  • Réunion Stonechat, Saxicola tectes
  • White-tailed Stonechat, Saxicola leucura
  • Pied Bushchat, Saxicola caprata
  • Jerdon's Bushchat, Saxicola jerdoni
  • Grey Bushchat, Saxicola ferrea
  • White-bellied Bushchat or Timor Bushchat, Saxicola gutturalis
  • Buff-streaked Bushchat, Saxicola bifasciata


  • Urquhart, E. & Bowley, A. 2002. Stonechats. A Guide to the Genus Saxicola. Helm. ISBN 0-7136-6024-4

  Results from FactBites:
Siberian Stonechat - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (353 words)
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.
British Garden Birds - Stonechat (360 words)
The Stonechat is similar to the Whinchat, but is generally darker in appearance and looks less slender.
Stonechats are primarily insectivorous, feeding on caterpillars, moths, ants, spiders and flies, though they will also take worms and snails, and feed on seeds and berries in the autumn and winter.
The Stonechat is on the Amber List of Species of Conservation Concern owing to declines in the populations in Britain and Europe.
  More results at FactBites »



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