Ground nesting Capped Wheatear <em>Oenanthe pileata</em> in the Western Cape South Africa.




Nest location, Oenanthe pileata, Capped Wheatear, South Africa, agriculture, Overberg


Capped Wheatear Oenanthe pileata is a medium sized passerine that readily inhabits agricultural landscapes. Several Oenanthe species occur worldwide, many of which are considered cavity nesters.

Here I present what is to my knowledge the first recorded case of a nest built above ground versus in a rodent tunnel or sheltered under a structure. The wheatear nest was located on the ground in a sheep pasture on the 21st of October 2021 20 km south of Swellendam in the Western Cape, South Africa. No structure or foliage covered the nest. The nest was discovered during construction. The female laid a total of three eggs over the following five days. The eggs were a very pale blue with two having fine dark black ‘scribble’ marks on the shells. The nest failed six days after discovery, presumably trampled by grazing sheep.

Despite having failed, this record does suggest a degree of flexibility in the nesting requirements of Capped Wheatears. The ability to exploit novel nesting habitats should be to the advantage of a species inhabiting rapidly changing landscapes.


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How to Cite

Rose, S. (2022) “ in the Western Cape South Africa”., Afrotropical Bird Biology:<br /> Journal of the Natural History of African Birds, 2. doi: 10.15641/abb.v2i.1156.



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