Definition of wheatear in US English:



  • A mainly Eurasian and African songbird related to the chats, with black and buff or black and white plumage and a white rump.

    Genus Oenanthe, subfamily Turdinae, family Muscicapidae: several species, in particular the gray-backed northern wheatear (O. oenanthe), found in the arctic barrens of Eurasia and northeastern Canada

    • ‘There were some wheatears in there too, and several other blurry dashes of color whizzing around in the big excitement they were taking part in, guess this must be it: the beginning of spring.’
    • ‘But diet extends to a selection of birds including warblers and even swallows, wheatears and nightingales.’
    • ‘In the black wheatear, nest size was related to parental quality.’
    • ‘Other species such as the wheatear, ring ouzel, and sandwich tern have all been observed about one week earlier than usual.’
    • ‘A wheatear with white eyebrow and orange bib perched nearby, robin shaped, hardly larger, soon to fly to Africa.’
    • ‘In the scrub areas I once again saw both Desert and Isabelline wheatears.’
    • ‘As spring approaches, many birds start to return to Ireland for the summer and to breed, for example, the cuckoo, swift, swallow, wheatear, various warblers and terns, and the corncrake - a bird of particular interest in the North-west.’
    • ‘The pied wheatear perched on a telephone line and would fly down to the ground to catch something then go back to its perch.’
    • ‘On this walk I was lucky to see a flock of 40 wheatears returning to the moors from wintering in Africa.’
    • ‘It looked like a wheatear but he was even a blur as a silhouette, bouncing around up there all alone like something very very important was going on, and I suppose it was.’
    • ‘I've also noticed a black-eared wheatear that seems to favor the grassy area in front of our barracks.’
    • ‘Skylarks, one of Britain's most endangered birds, can be spotted near the sixth fairway, common lizard, brown hare and hen by the ninth and pied wagtail, wheatear and spotted flycatcher by the 18th.’
    • ‘A wheatear perched on these, ready to take off for Africa.’
    • ‘The name wheatears comes from the Anglo-Saxon.’
    • ‘Finally, Stiv voiced what I was thinking, ‘I've tried awful hard to turn that into a wheatear but that really isn't found in Minnesota and the only record I could find was for a different county than I was in.’’
    • ‘Finally I saw the familiar numbers and went in, not caring wheatear he was behind me or not.’
    • ‘The Sussex shepherds who could earn up to £50 a year by supplying wheatears to poulterers in Brighton used to attend an annual celebration dinner, until about 1880.’
    • ‘In the surrounding area I saw a northern wheatear as well as a Black Redstart.’
    • ‘I saw a flock of common babblers, a migrant spotted flycatcher and my final new bird of the day an isabelline wheatear.’
    • ‘Skylarks, wheatears, pipits and greylag geese fill any silences that remain.’


Late 16th century: apparently from white (assimilated to wheat) + arse (assimilated to ear).