Image 63 of 179
Stonechat Saxicola torquata - Female. L 12-13cm. Small, compact bird. When perched, flicks short, dark tail and utters harsh alarm call. Sexes are dissimilar. Adult male has blackish head, white on side of neck, and dark back. Breast is orange-red, grading into pale underparts. In autumn, pale feather fringes make head appear paler. Adult female is similar but colours are muted and plumage is more streaked. 1st winter bird has streaked sandy brown upperparts and head, and buffish orange underparts. Voice Utters harsh tchak call, like two pebbles knocked together. Song is rapid and warbling. Status Locally common heaths, commons and gorse-covered slopes near coast. Some dispersal, mainly to coasts, occurs in winter.