Thrushes (Turdidae)

Mourning Wheatear (Oenanthe lugens) - HBW 10, p. 796

French: Traquet deuil German: Schwarzrücken-Steinschmätzer Spanish: Collalba Núbica
Other common names: Mourning Wheatear (“nominate group”); Arabian/South Arabian Wheatear (“lugentoides group”); Abyssinian Black Wheatear (“lugubris group”); Schalow’s/East African Wheatear (schalowi)

Taxonomy: Saxicola lugens M. H. K. Lichtenstein, 1823, Nubia [= Deram].
Has been treated as conspecific with O. finschii. Taxonomy complex. Races fall into four basic groups, each of which could possibly be treated as a separate species: “nominate group” (also including halophila and persica); “lugentoides group” (with boscaweni); “lugubris group” (with vauriei); and single-taxon “schalowi group”. Differences between nearest-neighbour groups, however, are weak, even though total variation is high, and situation further complicated by presence of morphs within certain races (e.g. black morph o.. View all taxonomy...

Taxonomy: Saxicola lugens M. H. K. Lichtenstein, 1823, Nubia [= Deram].
Has been treated as conspecific with O. finschii. Taxonomy complex. Races fall into four basic groups, each of which could possibly be treated as a separate species: “nominate group” (also including halophila and persica); “lugentoides group” (with boscaweni); “lugubris group” (with vauriei); and single-taxon “schalowi group”. Differences between nearest-neighbour groups, however, are weak, even though total variation is high, and situation further complicated by presence of morphs within certain races (e.g. black morph of nominate, adapted to living on black-basalt shield of S Syria and N Jordan); consequently, new arrangements can overlap, e.g. the “lugentoides group” has been treated both as a species on its own and as a member of a separate species that includes the “lugubris group” and schalowi. Pending extensive sampling of vocal, behavioural and ecological evidence, all groups are considered better retained within one polytypic species. Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • halophila (Tristram, 1859) - N Africa E to W Egypt (W of R Nile).
  • lugens (M. H. K. Lichtenstein, 1823) - Syria, Israel, Jordan and NW Arabia S to E Egypt and NE Sudan.
  • persica (Seebohm, 1881) - NC, WC & SW Iran; non-breeding Arabia and NE Africa.

     See all 8 subspecies
  • halophila (Tristram, 1859) - N Africa E to W Egypt (W of R Nile).
  • lugens (M. H. K. Lichtenstein, 1823) - Syria, Israel, Jordan and NW Arabia S to E Egypt and NE Sudan.
  • persica (Seebohm, 1881) - NC, WC & SW Iran; non-breeding Arabia and NE Africa.
  • lugentoides (Seebohm, 1881) - SW Saudi Arabia and W Yemen.
  • boscaweni Bates, 1937 - NW Yemen and S Oman.
  • lugubris (Rüppell, 1837) - Highlands of Eritrea and N & C Ethiopia.
  • vauriei Meinertzhagen, 1949 - NE Somalia.
  • schalowi (Fischer & Reichenow, 1884) - S Kenya and NE Tanzania.
  •      No sound recordings available yet