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Birds Guide


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European Stonechat, Saxicola rubicola
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Muscicapidae
Genus: Saxicola
Bechstein, 1802
See text.

The genus Saxicola, the stonechats or chats, is a genus of 14 species of small passerine birds restricted to the Old World. They are insectivores of open scrubland and grassland with scattered small shrubs.

Genetic evidence presented in the recent monograph by Urquhart & Bowley 2002 strongly supports the splitting of the Common Stonechat (Saxicola torquata sensu lato) into three species, African Stonechat (S. torquata), European Stonechat (S. rubicola) and Asian Stonechat (S. maura). This treatment is likely to become standard in the future.

Species list, following Urquhart & Bowley 2002:

  • Whinchat, Saxicola rubetra
    Stoliczka's Bushchat or White-browed Bushchat, Saxicola macrorhyncha
    Hodgson's Bushchat or White-throated Bushchat, Saxicola insignis
    Fuerteventura Chat or Canary Island Stonechat, Saxicola dacotiae
    European Stonechat, Saxicola rubicola (previously S. torquata rubicola)
    Siberian Stonechat or Asian Stonechat, Saxicola maura (previously S. torquata maura)
    African Stonechat, Saxicola torquata
    Reunion Stonechat, Saxicola tectes
    White-tailed Stonechat, Saxicola leucura
    Pied Bushchat, Saxicola caprata
    Jerdon's Bushchat, Saxicola jerdoni
    Grey Bushchat, Saxicola ferrea
    White-bellied Bushchat or Timor Bushchat, Saxicola gutturalis
    Buff-streaked Bushchat, Saxicola bifasciata


  • Urquhart, E. & Bowley, A. 2002. Stonechats. A Guide to the Genus Saxicola. Helm. ISBN 0-7136-6024-4


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