French name: Traquet oreillard

Scientific name: Oenanthe hispanica

Interesting information

This species is easy to identify: its cream colour contrasting with black cheeks, throat and wings. The female is much less contrasted with the wings, cheek and throat tending be more brown rather than black. It therefore has a more overall brownish appearance.

Call and song

Distribution and habitat

The Black-eared wheatear prefers open arid environments. A patchwork of bare soil, rocky outcrops or dry stone walls, as well as clean vegetation is essential to its presence.
In France, 90 % of the population is in the  Languedoc-Roussillon region and mainly in the Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales departments.
In the Aude, the population is declining and is confined to the dry grassland and low scrubland of the coastal fringe.

Distribution maps: region and county

Breeding birds Atlas – Languedoc Roussillon (2012-2021) – source:

Breeding birds Atlas – Aude (2012) – source: LPO11

Conservation status and population trends

With less than 500 breeding pairs in France, this species is considered rare. A decline of 40 to 70% of the population has been observed since 1999. That’s why the IUCN Red List considers this species as endangered in France and in the region. The main threats are related to the gradual closure of its habitats (abandonment of pastoralism and maintenance of garrigues, reduction of fires).

When to see this species in the Languedoc-Roussillon

The Black-eared wheatear can be seen in the Languedoc from mid-April. It leaves for its winter quarters at the end of August/September. The graph below shows the average numbers of Black-eared wheatear seen in the Languedoc by month.

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