Most beautiful small birds - Sykalo Eugen 2024

European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)


  • Species name: European Stonechat, Stonechat
  • Scientific name: Saxicola rubicola
  • Family: Turdidae (Thrushes)
  • Order: Passeriformes (Songbirds)
  • Subclass: Neornithes (Modern birds)
  • Class: Aves (Birds)


  • Size: Small songbird, about 12-13 cm (4.7-5.1 in) long with a wingspan of 18-20 cm (7.1-7.9 in).
  • Body shape: Plump and compact, with a short neck, a long, slightly upturned tail, and a short, straight beak.
  • Plumage color:

Males (breeding season): Striking contrast of jet black head and bib, chestnut throat and collar, pale grey back and upperparts, and orange-breasted patch.

Females and non-breeding males: Duller black head and bib, paler orange breast, and more streaked upperparts.

Blackish legs.

Dark eyes.

  • Beak: Short, straight, and black, well-suited for catching insects and gleaning seeds.


  • Method of feeding: Omnivorous, foraging for insects, worms, berries, and seeds. Often perched on rocks or low vegetation, hunting by pouncing and hopping.
  • Reproduction: Builds cup-shaped nests in low vegetation or amongst rocks. Lays 4-7 pale blue eggs with reddish markings. Both parents care for the young.
  • Movement: Resident in some parts of its range, migratory in others.
  • Communication: Varied song with clear whistles, trills, and chattering calls. Males sing from prominent perches to defend territory and attract mates.


  • Habitat: Open heathland, moorland, coastal cliffs, farmland with rough edges, and abandoned quarries.
  • Diet: Insects, worms, berries, seeds, and other small invertebrates.
  • Hunting methods: Often perches on rocks or low vegetation, then pounces on prey or gleans insects and berries from leaves and stems.

Distribution: Found across Europe, North Africa, and parts of Asia. Some populations are migratory, moving south in winter.

European Stonechat

The European Stonechat — a feathered whirlwind of black and white, flitting across open landscapes with a charming dash of red. This seemingly simple resident of grasslands and moorlands might appear like a shy songbird at first glance, but beneath its modest plumage lies a treasure trove of fascinating facts and adaptations that will leave you captivated by this dynamic avian performer.

Masters of the Perch: Forget ordinary branches; Stonechats have a penchant for exposed perches. They love to dance atop rocks, fence posts, and even the highest twigs, surveying their domain and showcasing their vibrant colors against the vast sky. Think of them as feathered ballerinas with built-in grand stages!

Unexpected Insect Hunters: Don't underestimate the Stonechat's predatory skills! They are fierce insectivores, using their sharp beaks and lightning-fast agility to snatch butterflies, beetles, and even grasshoppers in mid-air. Imagine them as feathered fighter jets with built-in miniature harpoons!

Hidden Acrobatic Talents: Their movements are nothing short of breathtaking. Stonechats flit, hover, and dart through the air, twisting and turning with acrobatic finesse to catch their prey or evade predators. Talk about feathered aerial gymnasts with built-in jetpacks!

Unexpected Winter Warriors: While many songbirds migrate south for the winter, Stonechats choose to tough it out in colder climates. Their thick feathers and efficient metabolism allow them to survive in freezing temperatures, adding a splash of black and white to the snowy landscapes. Talk about feathered Vikings with built-in winter jackets!

Symbiotic Symphony: Stonechats play a vital role in the ecosystem. By controlling insect populations, they help maintain the health of grasslands and heathlands, contributing to a balanced natural symphony. These feathered pest controllers contribute to the flourishing of plants and other creatures.

Cultural Charmers: For centuries, the Stonechat has held a special place in European cultures. Its bold plumage and lively movements inspired poets, artists, and even folklorists, often symbolizing freedom, resilience, and the spirit of the open landscapes. It's a testament to the enduring fascination we have with this adaptable and captivating bird.

Singing for Two! During courtship, both male and female Stonechats sing harmoniously together, creating a duet of melodic chirps and whistles. It's like they're feathered serenading partners with built-in musical chemistry!

Hidden Family Helpers: In some situations, Stonechats engage in cooperative breeding. Older offspring or non-breeding individuals might assist the breeding pair in raising chicks, providing extra food and protection. Talk about a feathered commune with built-in childcare!