Sedge warblers’, wheatears’ first nests in Iraq

This video says about itself:

White-crowned wheatear – Oenanthe leucopyga – Λευκόπυγος Πετρόκλης, Λυκοσκαλιφούρτα – Cyprus

24 February 2016

The white-crowned wheatear, or white-crowned black wheatear (Oenanthe leucopyga) is a wheatear, a small passerine bird that was formerly classed as a member of the thrush family Turdidae, but is now more generally considered to be an Old World flycatcher, Muscicapidae.

This large 17–18 cm long wheatear breeds in stony deserts from the Sahara and Arabia across to Iraq. It is largely resident but has occurred as a rare vagrant to western Europe as far away as Great Britain. It nests in crevices in rocks or walls laying 3-5 eggs.

Although most wheatear species have distinctive male and female plumages, adults of both sexes of this species are black except for a white rump and mainly white tail. Full adults have a white crown, not shown by young birds.

From BirdLife:

First breeding records of warblers, wheatear in Iraq

By Laith Ali Al-Obeidi, 13 Dec 2016

In recent years, Nature Iraq (BirdLife Partner) has recorded two breeding firsts in the country. In May 2012, I accompanied Richard Porter in bird surveys in Iraqi Kurdistan, in the ChamiRazan area northwest of the city of Sulaimani. It was here that we got our first sighting of Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus breeding; a pair were collecting food in low vegetation in an overgrown wooded stream. A few days later, Porter found another pair of Sedge Warblers and heard three singing males in riverine vegetation, including reeds, in Mawat area, north of Sulaimani city and close to the Iranian border.

Since then there have been some other interesting Sedge Warbler findings. In summer 2015, I found two pairs in the Central marshes, southern Iraq. The first pair was in Zichri marsh, Thi-Qar governorate and the second pair, at Baghdadiya lake, Chibaish district, Thi-Qar governorate.

Similar findings of White-crowned Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga breeding in the country emerged as a result of a surveying project co-ordinated between Nature Iraq and BirdLife International (AVJC Foundation project). The surveys were conducted in the Central marshes in the summers and winters of 2014 and 2015.

In May 2014, a juvenile White-crowned Wheatear was discovered in Zichri area, Basra governorate at an earth embankment which represents the eastern boundary of the Central marshes, Southern Iraq. A scientific paper describing the findings was published in Ornithological Society of the Middle East Magazine during 2016. The breeding of both species are related to the presence of suitable habitats in Iraq.

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