Bluethroat, Stonechats and Whinchat

These birds don't seem concerned to have cover readily available and are found in open, sometimes rocky often hilly even mountainous areas.


This bird occurs widely across Europe and Asia with the main breeding grounds found in Scandinavia, Russia, Siberia, some parts of west and central Europe, south to the Himalayas. It can also be found on the tundra of Alaska and the Yukon Territory.


It spends much of the time in low vegetation foraging for invertebrates such as flies, ants, beetles and spiders, which it gleans from the stems and leaves of plants, or catches by turning over leaf litter on the ground. It will catch insects on the wing, and has also been reported to feed on earthworms, shrimps, small snails and small frogs. In the winter it also feeds on seeds and fruits.

It breeds on tundra with brushy areas, thickets, wet forest edges, scrubs on hills and mountainous areas, often near water. This species needs low dense vegetation for nesting. It may be found up to 2600-3800 metres of elevation in Afghanistan and NW Himalayas.

On a birding trip to Spain in May 2006, if I could have only photographed one bird, this bird would have been my choice. They breed among willows and birch trees in Northern Europe. We drove from Hoyos de Espino, along the AV 931 to the car park. We then walked for about an hour, climbing steadily towards Jose Anto Elola.

Suddenly we came across several male Bluethroats (right) and I was able to get a number of photographs. The area in which we saw these birds was rocky, scrub-land at a height of about 1800 metres.

Stonechat and Whinchat.

These two birds are found in Africa and are common in Europe where they are fairly easily seen perched on posts or rocks.


I have photographed Stonechats in the UK, Morocco, South Africa and Kenya. This Stonechat (left) was photographed en route to Lake Naivasha in Kenya.


The Whinchat (right) was photographed in the UK.