Bird Families

Saxicola stejnegeri


Photo © Mprasannak (Prasanna Kumar Mamidala) / Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 4.0

Gomel region - Kalinkovichi district

In the Kalinkovichi district (Gomel region) at the river. In May 2017, Andrei Shevchik took several photos of a new species for the fauna of Belarus. The portal "Wildlife of Belarus" announced this on 05/07/17 (the text of the message and the photo can be viewed by clicking on the link In 2018, the species was included in the list of the avifauna of Belarus.

Previously considered a subspecies of the black-headed Saxicola torquata maura

Similar to meadow engraving, somewhat smaller, more round-headed. Weight 11-18 g, body length 12-13 cm.Gladkov (1954) for Siberian coins of the USSR indicated: body length ♂ 13.6 cm (12.5-15), ♀ 13.4 cm (13-14.3) , span ♂ 21.9 cm (21.3-23.6), ♀ 21.5 cm (21-22), wing length ♂ 6.8 cm (6.4-7.3), ♀ 6.7 cm ( 6.4-7.1), weight ♂ 12.6 g (12-13.4), ♀ 12.4 g (12-12.7).

Spends a lot of time on bushes or on high, strong grass, towering above the rest of the grass layer. Constant twitching of the tail is characteristic.

In the breeding plumage of black-headed coins (S. maura and S. torquata), one can unmistakably identify by a black head with a white collar and a red chest; there are no similar species. Females, juveniles and males in autumn plumage differ from meadow chisels in their light upper tail and a weakly expressed light eyebrow.

The males are more contrasting than the black-headed S. torquata males, lighter in the belly, loin and upper tail, which can be completely white, the white "collar" is wider and extends further to the nape. In males, tail feathers are white only at the very base (by no more than 5 mm), for the rest of the length they are black. After the autumn molt, the edges of the black feathers are ocher-whitish or slightly grayish, the white spot around the neck extends far back, the loin is not speckled, the tail feathers at the base (not more than 5 mm long) are whitish.

Females of S. maura are also paler than S. torquata, almost always have a light chin and throat (in S. torquata they are usually darker than the chest).

Young birds in nesting plumage are similar to females, but more variegated, with light buffy streaks along the top of the head, back and wings, dark streaks on the underside of the body. In autumn, young birds and males are colored like females; the upper tail of males is lighter than that of females. All dresses have a white spot in the scapular region.

The singing is like torn phrases from creaky trills, in general, like a meadow chasing, a little more monotonous, without an obvious grinding, there are few whistling elements in the songs. Sometimes they make fun of. They sing while sitting on tall bushes and stalks of herbs, poles, trees, sometimes in trembling flight. In case of alarm, chik, yaik-chik, chikchak-khi, and hiit, similar to the blows of pebbles, are emitted.

In the neighboring center of European Russia, they are rare, and in large areas, they are not found at all. They arrive at the height of spring, between the melting of snow and the appearance of greenery, to the north - when the snow melts. Migration in the north of the range ends in early September, in the south - in October. Wintering, apparently, in the south of Asia, in the Mediterranean and Africa.

Habitats of an open and semi-open type, more diverse than that of a meadow minting: meadows, fallow lands, the outskirts of bogs with shrubs and individual trees, mountain, north-taiga and forest-tundra woodlands, clearings and burnt places, the edges of steppe pegs and pine forests, steppes with shrubs, etc. e. The nest on the ground, well covered by overhanging grass, bushes, bumps, willingly use shallow natural shelters among bumps, clods of earth, old burrows. Nesting material is dry grass, moss, blades of grass in the tray, wool, plant fluff, there are many feathers. In clutch there are 4-8, more often 5-7 eggs. The eggs are lighter and less bright than those of the meadow chisel, pale greenish, slightly bluish or faded gray, with rusty dull specks, specks or a reddish-brown bloom on the blunt end. The female incubates, the male does not feed her, both parents feed the chicks.

They feed on insects, adults sometimes eat berries and seeds.

1. Minutes of the BOFC meeting No. 1 (2018) dated 03.04.2018

2. Gladkov N. A. "Black-headed mint" / Dementyev G. P. and Gladkov N. A. (editors).Birds of the Soviet Union. vol. 6. Passerine. M., 1954.

3. Ryabitsev V. K. "Black-headed coinage" / Kalyakin M. V. (general ed.). Complete guide to birds of the European part of Russia. Part III. M., 2014. (-336 p.) S. 183-186

Usage Information

Photo "Male Saxicola stejnegeri in Thailand" can be used for personal and commercial purposes according to the conditions of the purchased Royalty-free license. The image is available for download in high resolution quality up to 4239x2826.

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Less sparrow. The body is similar to the meadow stamp, somewhat smaller, more round-headed and long-tailed. The male has a characteristic appearance: a black head with a white collar, a bright red chest, a white or pale buffy loin. The female has a reddish color, with a darker top, similar to the female of the meadow chisel, differs from her in the weak expression of a light eyebrow, there are no light spots on the sides of the tail, there is buffy or reddish lightening on the loin and upper tail, from a distance it can look like a white spot. Juveniles in nesting plumage are similar to the female, but more variegated, with light buffy streaky streaks along the top of the head, back and wings, and dark streaks on the underside of the body. In autumn, juveniles and males are colored like females, males have a white uppertail with red streaks, lighter than females, like the meadow chimney, in all plumage there is a white spot in the scapular region, but there are no white spots on the sides of the tail, the loin and uppertail lighter than the rest of the back. Tail twitches constantly. Weight 11-18 g, length approx. 12-13, wing 6.7-7.4, span 18-21 cm.


Several subspecies inhabit different regions of Europe, Asia and Africa. Common or numerous in many areas. In Kazakhstan, it nests everywhere, with the exception of completely waterless areas of the Caspian and Aral Sea deserts. It rises to the mountains up to almost 3000 meters. For more detailed distribution in Kazakhstan, see the Subspecies section.


Numerous, in places common breeding migrant. Inhabits open tall grass meadows and steppes with shrubs, outskirts of floodplain and deciduous forests, vegetable gardens on plains and gentle mountain slopes with tall grasses and shrubs up to 2300 m in Altai and 3000-3200 m in Tien Shan. In southern regions appears in March - early April in flocks of 15-25 birds. Most birds arrive in April. In the north of the range and in the mountains, they arrive in April - mid-May. Breeds in separate pairs not far from each other. A dry grass nest is built on the ground under bushes, grass or stone and is lined with hair and feathers. Only the female builds the nest, the male is nearby at this time. In late April - early June, the female lays 3-6 eggs and incubates them for 11-14 days. Both parents feed chicks for 12 days, which fly out of the nest in early June - late July. The long breeding period is explained by the large latitudinal range of distribution, late high altitude phenology, repeated nesting after the loss of the first nest, and a possible double nesting cycle in the plains. Autumn migration in the mountains occurs early - at the end of July - August, the last birds were recorded at the end of August. On the plains, the main migration occurs at the end of August - the first half of September, the last birds were observed in mid-October.

Sources of information

V.K. Ryabitsev. "Birds of the Urals, Urals and Western Siberia". Yekaterinburg, Ural University Publishing House, 2000. EI Gavrilov."Fauna and distribution of birds in Kazakhstan". Almaty, 1999. Gavrilov E. I., Gavrilov A. E. "The Birds of Kazakhstan". Almaty, 2005. A.F.Kovshar "Songbirds". Alma-Ata, "Kainar", 1983.