Red-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe chrysopygia


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 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 has not been quantified, 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 global population size has not been quantified, but the species is described as generally fairly rare, although scarce to locally common in Afghanistan and Pakistan and locally common in Oman (del Hoyo et al. 2005). The European population is estimated at 20-30 pairs, which equates to 40-60 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

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

Distribution and population

This species breeds in north-east Turkey, Armenia, northern Iran east to southern Tadjikistan, Afghanistan and extreme west Pakistan. During the non-breeding season, it is found across the Arabian Peninsula, southern Iraq, Iran, eastern Afghanistan, Pakistan and north-west India.


This species breeds on arid rocky slopes and screes from 1,200 m to 4,000 m. In winter it is found down to sea level in dry steppe, rocky hill slopes and semi-desert. Breeding density varies from 10-20 pairs/km2 on rocky hillsides up to 20-70 pairs/km2 on river terraces and the sides of large gorges in southern Tadjikistan. The nest is a loosely constructed, shallow cup of dry grass and coarser plant fibres, lined with finer fibres stripped from plant stems and sometimes placed on a thick base of debris. It is set in a hole in rocks, among stones, or in the wall of a build and occasionally in the burrow of a Bee-eater (Merops) (Snow and Perrins 1998). The diet is mainly invertebrates, principally ants and beetles but also takes some plant matter (Collar 2016). The species is mainly migratory, wintering in the Middle East and south-west Asia (Collar 2016).


No threats have been identified.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway

CMS Appendix II.

Conservation Actions Proposed

No conservation measures are thought to be needed for this species, at least within its European range.


Text account compilers
Ashpole, J, Bird, J., Everest, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Oenanthe chrysopygia. Downloaded from on 18/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 18/08/2022.