Who’s On The Wire?

Bird on the fence in Germany (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Here’s a North American breeding bird whose field marks resemble an uncommon winter visitor to rural Pennsylvania.  But that’s not who he is.

This bird breeds in Europe, Asia, and far northern North America and spends the winter in Africa.   If he comes to Pennsylvania he causes a stir.

Here’s his range map — breeding zone in orange, wintering in dark blue.

Range map of our mystery bird (from Wikimedia Commons)

Saturday quiz: 

  • What bird is this?
  • What (uncommon) Pennsylvania bird does he resemble?
  • What field marks differ between the two of them?

(photo and range map from Wikimedia Commons; click on the captions to see the originals)

3 thoughts on “Who’s On The Wire?

  1. I have a framed print of one hanging in my house, Wheatear. I bought it used at our church Art From the Attic sale, and I love it! I guess it looks a little bit like a shrike? Or were you thinking something else?

    1. Yes, in this photo it resembles a northern shrike. And shrikes resembles n. mockingbirds so there’s a long chain of them in my head.

  2. The photograph shows a Northern Wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), the only wheatear that breeds in the New World. There are roughly 30 other species, all Old World, in the genus. One of these, Pied Wheatear, is a very rare vagrant in Alaska (only one record, if I remember correctly). Cool birds. I’ve searched in vain for Northern Wheatear here and in Britain. Will keep looking!

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