Kurdish Wheatear Oenanthe xanthoprymna


Justification of Red List category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not 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 does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately 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
In Europe, the breeding population is estimated to number 600-2,000 pairs, which equates to 1,200-4,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.10% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 12,000-40,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats. The European population is estimated to be stable (BirdLife International 2015).


During the breeding season, this species is found on dry rocky mountain slopes and in valley bottoms where patches of dwarf shrubs and herbs (e.g. Ferula) are interspersed with bare rocks, scattered boulders or stunted trees. On the wintering grounds in Africa it is found in coastal plain and rocky hills, mostly in arid habitats such as cliffs, gorges, acacia grassland, annual grassland and rocky desert. In eastern Turkey, nests with young have been recorded in mid-June and early August. The nest is unreported but is presumably similar in type and placement to that of Oenanthe chrysopygia. The diet includes ants, beetles, termites, caterpillars and many other insect species and occasionally small lizards, seeds and fruit. The species is migratory, wintering in Africa (Collar and de Juana 2015).


There are not thought to be any current significant threats to this species.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway

CMS Appendix II. There are currently no known conservation measures for this species within Europe.

Conservation Actions Proposed

No conservation measures are thought to be needed for this species within Europe.


Text account compilers
Gilroy, J., Symes, A., Ekstrom, J., Everest, J., Ashpole, J, Butchart, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Oenanthe xanthoprymna. Downloaded from on 09/12/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 09/12/2023.