Cyprus Wheatear Oenanthe cypriaca


Justification of Red List Category
Although this species may have a restricted range, it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population is moderate small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number at least 18,000 individuals, roughly equating to 12,000 mature individuals (K. Kohls in litt. 2008). The population is estimated at 40,000-100,000 pairs, which equates to 80,000-200,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable (BirdLife International 2015).


This species inhabits a wide range of habitats, including mountain pine forest clearings, hills and mountains with rough open ground and scattered trees, broken rocky ground, open natural and farmed lowlands, woodland and plantations, gardens, industrial and suburban areas and house compounds. The breeding season is from April to July. The nest is a loose bulky cup of grass and roots, placed low down in a hole in an earth bank, stone or mud wall, terrace, roadside, tree, behind loose eucalypt bark or under a stone. It can also be set in a cave or an artificial site, such as a metal pipe, empty can, flowerpot, shed shelves or nestbox. Clutches are four to five eggs (Collar 2015). The diet is almost entirely insects, especially ants beetles and grasshoppers but will also take berries and has been recorded taking a lizard. The species is migratory, wintering mostly in Sudan and Ethiopia (Snow and Perrins 1998).


The only known threat to this species in Cyprus is from bird-catchers using lime-sticks and mist-nets and also from shooting at migration times (Tucker and Heath 1994).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. EU Birds Directive Annex I. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
The implementation and enforcement of existing laws against trapping is urgently required. Controls are needed on the use of lime-sticks and on the import, sale and use of mist-nets as well as on the trafficking and sale of birds as food in restaurants. In addition a wider, more systematic system of monitoring the situation and the species's population (Tucker and Heath 1994, Collar 2015).


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ashpole, J, Ekstrom, J., Bird, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Oenanthe cypriaca. Downloaded from on 17/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 17/08/2022.