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Oenanthe hispanica

warning Endangered
EN (C1)

Contributed: Avner Rinot, Yoav Perlman, Asaf Mayrose, Lior Kislev, Rei Segali, Ezra Hadad, Tuvia Kahn, Yosef Kiat, Yuvak Dax, Yaron Bazer, Eyal Shochat
Update Time: Jan. 1, 2011, 7:39 a.m.

The Black-eared Wheatear is classified as Endangered (EN) because of the continued decline in its population size. The decline rate is estimated at over 20% in two generations (8.2 years). In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as Least Concern (LC). The change in the threat category reflects the dramatic decline of its population, as expressed by the decrease in its range and the number of individuals. The reduction in the occurrence of the species has been apparent since the early 2000s. The Black-eared Wheatear has completely disappeared from extensive areas in which it was once common, such as the Western Galilee, Mt. Carmel, the Judean Lowlands, the Judean Mountains and Western Samaria.
EN Current Regional Assessment | LC Previous Regional Assessment | LC Global Assessment

Habitats Rocky Terrain, Mediterranean Batha, Semi-desert Batha
Presence In Israel Summer, Migrant
Breeding In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Long Range
Zoographical Zones Mediterranean, Irano-Turanian
Landscape Types Mountainous, Rugged Terrain
Vegetation Types Steppe
Vegetation Densities Medium, Low
Nest Locations Ground
Diet Types Invertebrate
Foraging Grounds Ground
Body Sizes Small (up to 500g)
Threat Factors Wildfires, Habitat destruction in migration and wintering areas, Habitat loss and fragmentation, Tree planting

The Black-eared Wheatear is the only wheatear that summers and breeds in northern and central Israel (with the exception of the Mt. Hermon heights, where other wheatear species breed). It is conspicuous with its contrasting black-white plumage, territorial behavior and loud song. It is sexually dimorphic – the males have a very contrasting plumage with a white or yellowish crown, back and belly, contrasting with the black wings and cheeks; some of the individuals have black throats. The females are brown-gray with white only on their tails.

Inhabits rocky shrubland, often in cliff walls, at the edge of quarries and in areas undergoing development and soil stripping.

The Black-eared Wheatear is threatened by development, destruction and modification of shrublands and their conversion to settlements and planted forests. In the Judean Lowlands, Eastern Lakhish and Western Samaria it has been impacted by frequent wildfires started by army training exercises. In addition, the species is also apparently affected by desertification processes and overexploitation in its wintering and migration areas.

No specific conservation measures have been taken for this species to date.

The Black-eared Wheatear is a migrating species classified as Endangered because of the decline in its population size and range. During the past two decades, it has disappeared from extensive areas in Western Samaria, the Carmel and the Galilee. The major factors threatening the species in Israel are the continued reduction of uninterrupted shrubland areas and their quality, and also desertification processes and overexploitation of habitats in the species’ wintering range and along its migration route.

Educational activities in army units to reduce wildfire incidents.
Expanding firebreaks to prevent fire expansion.
Restricting afforestation in shrublands.
Protecting continuous shrubland areas from construction and development.

  • ישראלי, נ. ופרלמן, י. 2013. סיכום סקר עופות מקננים בחרמון. דו"ח מרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • מירוז, א. 2008. סיכום סקר ציפורים בשמורת סנסן אביב 2008. דו"ח רשות הטבע והגנים ומרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • מירוז, א. 2013. סיכום סקר ציפורים במזרח לכיש, אביב 2013. דו"ח רשות הטבע והגנים.
  • מירוז, א. ושוחט, א. 2014. סיכום סקר ציפורים סביב היישוב נטע במזרח לכיש – 2014. דו"ח רשות הטבע והגנים.
  • מירוז, א., 2007 . סיכום סקר ציפורים בגבעות גומר. דו"ח עבור רשות הטבע והגנים.
  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
  • Shirihai, H., 1996. The Birds of Israel. Academic Press, London.
  • Shochat, E., Abramski, Z., Pinshow, B., 2001. Breeding bird species diversity in the Negev: Effects of Scrub Fragmentation by planted forests. Journal of Applied Ecology, 38, 1135-1147.
  • Symes, A. 2013. Species generation lengths. Unpublished, BirdLife International.
  • Species page at Birdlife International
Contributed: Avner Rinot, Yoav Perlman, Asaf Mayrose, Lior Kislev, Rei Segali, Ezra Hadad, Tuvia Kahn, Yosef Kiat, Yuvak Dax, Yaron Bazer, Eyal Shochat

Current Occupancy Map

Current occupancy map by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
0 0 0 0 0

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel from the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and breeding density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values in the current decade as determined from experts' opinion and observations from databases.

Relative Abundance 2010-2020 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
8 12 12 21 19

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Density values based primarily on the book The Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Relative Abundance 1980-1990 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
5 14 14 17 22

Occupancy 1990-2020

The map shows differences in the species breeding distribution between the 1980's breeding map and the current weighted breeding evaluation. Negative value - species previously bred in the grid and is not presently breeding; positive value - species has not previously bred in the grid and is currently breeding.

Occupancy 1990-2020
Data Missing No Change Occupancy Increase Occupancy Decrease
6 35 1 9

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020

The map shows the changes in the relative abundance of a species in each of the distribution grids between the breeding map of the 1980s and the weighted current breeding evaluation. Negative values - decline in abundance; positive values - increase in abundance; zero - no change in abundance.

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020
80 to 100 50 20 to 30 No Change 30- to 20- 50- 100- to 80- Data Missing
0 4 2 22 12 14 11 16

Red number
IUCN category
Threat Definition according to the red book
() districts
% of protected sites

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