Hortobágy National Park Directorate
Management - News 2015-05-19

Rare bird in the Hortobágy National Park

 

On 11-12th May 2015, a male Isabelline wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina) was observed in the Kis-Álomzug that belongs to the territory of the HNP.

The Isabelline wheatear is a common species within its distribution area. Its breeding range stretches from Eastern Europe (Romania, Bulgaria and the Eastern rimlands of Greece) to Asia Minor and Kazakhstan.

In any other part of Europe however, its occurrence always makes the ornithological headlines! This record from the Hortobágy is the second of its kind from Hungary. The first occurence of the species was recorded on 26-27th May 2000, near Zákányszék, Csongrád county.

The plumage of the Isabelline wheatear is pale and modest, but it serves the bird as an excellent camouflage on the ground of its typical habitats. As for its scientific name ’isabellina’, the bird was named after Queen Isabella of Spain, who reigned in the 17th century and was very fond of such sandy coloured costumes. The Isabelline wheater lives on steppes, rocky mountain slopes and plateaus as well as agricultural areas. It favours abandoned burrows of sousliks or rock crevices as nesting sites.
The male observed on the Hortobágy was singing and displaying courtship behaviour towards the female of a Northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) pair, while it repeatedly chased its mate away.

 

Text and photos:                                                                  

Attila Szilágyi

ranger

National Park Ranger Service

 

 

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