Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Northern Wheatear - Oenanthe oenanthe
Sole representative of MUSCICAPIDAE in NC
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General Comments There are five state records of this primarily Eurasian species, all in Sep - Oct, with three from the coast and two from the mountains. With one exception, Northern Wheatears in North Carolina have tended not to stay in one place for very long. Because Wheatears breed in rocky areas in the Arctic tundra, occurrences in the East are often in "strange" places -- parking lots, campgrounds, rooftops, and other "hard" structures as opposed to on/in vegetation.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SZ
Global Rank G5
Coastal Plain Accidental or casual. There are three records from the coast: one was photographed at Avon (Dare) on 2 Oct 1987 [Chat 56:30-31 link], [Chat 54:57 link]; one was seen by many birders at the Cape Hatteras Point Campground (Dare), 22 Sep - 29 Oct 1994 [Chat 59:107 link]; and one was found at Ocracoke (Hyde) on 6-7 Oct 1996 [Chat 60:124 link].
Piedmont No records.
Mountains Accidental. Surprisingly, there have been two "one-day wonders" in the mountains: a sight record in Franklin (Macon) on 11 October 1981 [Chat 46:82-83 link]; and an adult female photographed at Connestee Falls (Transylvania) on 13 October 2003 [Chat 68:55 link].
Finding Tips
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Attribution LeGrand[2019-02-28], LeGrand[2018-02-01], LeGrand[2012-09-18]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.