French name: Traquet oreillard
Scientific name: Oenanthe hispanica
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.
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: faune-lr.org
Conservation status and population trendsWith 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).