Wild life and nature of Samos, Ikaria & Fournoi

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European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola)


The Common Stonechat is a fairly small, stocky bird measuring around 12.5 centimetres in length, and a wingspan of approximately 18-21 cm. Males can be recognised by their blackish heads, orange breast, white throat stripe and dark tail. Females are paler and browner, with a ginger breast. Juveniles are a more uniform brown with a mottled chest. It can be easily recognised by its call, from which it gets its name – a harsh “tchack” that sounds like two stones being struck together.


Enjoys open land with bushes, gorse, hedges, scrub etc. They can also be found above coastal cliffs and dunes, and are situated in altitudes ranging from sea level to above the tree line.


The European Stonechat’s diet consists mainly of insects, however worms, spiders and seeds are also eaten. A particular prey item in summer is the Great Green Bush-Cricket(Tettigonia viridissima).

Protected Status

This species is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

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