Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely 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 the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not 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 23,700-107,000 pairs, which equates to 47,500-215,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015). Europe forms c.10% of the global range, so a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 475,000-2,150,000 mature individuals, although further validation of this estimate is needed. The population in China has been estimated at c.100-100,000 breeding pairs and c.50-10,000 individuals on migration (Brazil 2009).

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).


This species typically occupies arid rocky desolate semi-desert, stony slopes, rocky outcrops, lightly wooded slopes, hilly pastures and fallow fields in flat and undulating steppe country as well as riverbanks, gulleys, crags and cliffs. Breeding is from early May in the Ukraine, from May to June in Afghanistan and to August in northern Pakistan. The nest is a loose flat cup of coarse plant stems and rootlets, lined with fine stems, animal hair and wool and typically with a base and/or entrance platform of small twigs. It is set in a small cavity under a stone, or in the wall of a gulley, bank or building. Clutches are four to six eggs. It feeds on invertebrates, especially ants and beetles but supplements with fruit in the autumn (Collar 2015). The species is migratory, wintering in eastern Africa and south-west Arabia (Snow and Perrins 1998).


In Bulgaria, the species is known to hybridize with Oenanthe oenanthe where their ranges overlap, but this is not thought to be a serious threat (Hagemeijer and Blair 1997).

Conservation actions

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

Conservation Actions Proposed
No conservation measures are currently needed for this species within its European range.


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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Oenanthe pleschanka. Downloaded from on 10/06/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 10/06/2023.