AskDefine | Define stonechat

Dictionary Definition

stonechat n : common European chat with black plumage and a reddish-brown breast [syn: Saxicola torquata]

User Contributed Dictionary



stonechat (plural: stonechats)
  1. Any of various small Old World passerine birds of the genus Saxicola that feed on insects.


Extensive Definition

The genus Saxicola, the stonechats or chats, is a genus of 14 species of small passerine birds restricted to the Old World. They are insectivores of open scrubland and grassland with scattered small shrubs.
Saxicola torquata was at one time used for the supposed taxon "Common Stonechat". With addition of mtDNA cytochrome b sequence and nDNA fingerprinting data (Urquhart & Bowley 2002, Wink et al. 2002), it was confirmed that not only the Fuerteventura and Réunion Stonechats are distinct species. In addition, the African, European and Siberian Stonechats needed to be separated too. Due to confusion of subspecies allocation, the name S. torquata was briefly used for the European species, the African Stonechat being S. axillaris.
Species list:


  • Urquhart, Ewan & Bowley, Adam (2002): Stonechats. A Guide to the Genus Saxicola. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6024-4
  • Wink, M.; Sauer-Gürth, H. & Gwinner, E. (2002): Evolutionary relationships of stonechats and related species inferred from mitochondrial-DNA sequences and genomic fingerprinting. British Birds 95: 349-355. PDF fulltext

External links


stonechat in Spanish: Saxicola
stonechat in French: Tarier
stonechat in Lithuanian: Kiauliukės
stonechat in Portuguese: Saxicola
stonechat in Chinese: 石䳭屬
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