Mountain Wheatear

Mountain Wheatear or Chat

The Mountain Wheatear is also known as the Mountain Chat. It is a bird that is widely distributed across South Africa although it tends to be found in areas with hills and slopes with boulders, or grassland in some areas. They may well appear in your garden particularly if you live on, or near, a rocky slope.

I live in an area that is somewhat rocky but is predominantly grassland. Unfortunately, the land is getting cleared at a rapid rate to throw up new housing complexes. We have a couple of Mountain Wheatears in our housing estate, and they seem quite at home in the gardens.

“My” Mountain Wheatear

I have a bird feeding station outside my study window and each day I put out some bread, fruit, suet, and dried meal worms. It is the latter item which attracts a Mountain Wheatear to eat. The funny thing is that I only get a female Mountain Wheatear visiting to eat. I see a male across the road, but he never ventures into what I can only assume is the female’s territory. She doesn’t cross the road either. I once came home and saw a female Mountain Wheatear that had been run over about 50 metres up the road from my house. I thought that my Wheatear was gone but fortunately she was still there near the food.

The photo is of my female bird. She is brown with a bright white rump when she flies. The males are either black or grey with white on their shoulders, rump and outer tail feathers. The black males are very handsome birds.

As mentioned above these birds can be encouraged to your feeder but remember they won’t touch items such as seed, fruit or bread. Their natural diet is insects and spiders which is why meal worms are a good way to attract them.

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