Thai National Parks

Birds of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Siberian stonechat

Binomial name: Saxicola maurus, Peter Simon Pallas, 1773

The Siberian stonechat or Asian stonechat (Saxicola maurus) is a recently validated species of the Old World flycatcher family (Muscicapidae). Like the other thrush-like flycatchers, it was often placed in the Turdidae in the past. It breeds in temperate Asia and easternmost Europe and winters in the Old World tropics.

Description, systematics and taxonomy

It resembles its closest living relative the European stonechat (S. rubicola), but is typically darker above and paler below, with a white rump and whiter underparts with less orange on the breast. The male in breeding plumage has black upperparts and head (lacking the brownish tones of the European stonechat), a conspicuous white collar, scapular patch and rump, and a restricted area of orange on the throat.

The female has pale brown upperparts and head, white neck patches (not a full collar), and a pale, unstreaked pinkish-yellow rump. Males in winter plumage are intermediate between summer males and females, with a supercilium resembling the Whinchat (S. rubetra); from this species and the female it can be distinguished by the full white collar.

If seen at close distance, it can be recognized that its primary remiges are distinctly longer than in S. rubicola. In this, it closely resembles the Whinchat, which like S. maurus is adapted to long-distance migrations.

The male has a clicking call, like two pebbles knocked together. The song is high and twittering like the Dunnock (Prunella modularis), an unrelated passeridan songbird belonging to the Passeroidea.

Systematics and taxonomy

There are five or six subspecies, with S. m. maurus (described above) and the doubtfully distinct and very similar S. m. stejnegeri found across northern and central Asia. The southern S. m. variegatus (west of the Caspian Sea), S. m. armenicus (eastern Turkey to Iran), S. m. indicus (Himalaya) and the Turkestan stonechat S. m. przewalskii (southwest China) are distinguished by larger white areas on the plumage.

In the past, S. maurus was usually included in S. torquatus as part of the "common stonechat", but that scientific name nowadays is restricted to the African stonechat. Analysis of mtDNA cytochrome b sequence and nDNA microsatellite fingerprinting data, though not unequivocal, together with the evidence from morphology, behaviour and biogeography confirms the suspicion that the present bird is a distinct species. The European stonechat is its western sister species in the Eurasian lineage of stonechats; their ancestors separated during the Late Pliocene or Early Pleistocene, roughly 1.5-2.5 million years ago at the onset of the Quaternary glaciation.

Its scientific name means "dark rock-dweller". Saxicola derives from Latin saxum "rock" + incola "inhabitant"; maurus is Latinized from Greek maúros (μαύρος) "black" (cf. "moor"), in reference to the upperpart color as compared to S. rubicola.

Distribution and ecology

The breeding range covers most of temperate Asia, from about latitude 71°N in Siberia south to the Himalaya and southwest China, and west to eastern Turkey and the Caspian Sea area. It also breeds in the far northeast of Europe, mainly in Russia but occasionally as far west as Finland.

The wintering range of the migratory bird is from southern Japan south to Thailand and India, and west to northeast Africa. On migration, small numbers reach as far west as western Europe, and exceptionally as far east as Alaska in North America.

The Siberian stonechat is insectivorous. It breeds in open rough scrubland or rough grassland with scattered shrubs, from sea level to about 4, 000 m ASL or more. The birds seem to avoid even cool temperate conditions and stay up north only during the hot continental summer. In the montane regions of the Himalaya foothills of Bhutan, migrants can on occasion be seen foraging in fields and pastures more than 2, 000 m ASL, but most move further down and south to winter in tropical regions.

Though it is not considered a distinct species by the IUCN yet, it is widespread and common and would not be considered a threatened species.

This article uses material from Wikipedia released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike Licence 3.0. Eventual photos shown in this page may or may not be from Wikipedia, please see the license details for photos in photo by-lines.

Videos of Siberian stonechat

  • Siberian stonechat (female)

    Siberian stonechat (female)

  • Siberian stonechat

    Siberian stonechat

  • Siberian stonechat (female)

    Siberian stonechat (female)

Scientific classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Passeriformes
Family
Muscicapidae
Genus
Saxicola
Species
Saxicola maurus

Conservation status

Not Evaluated (IUCN3.1)

Not Evaluated (IUCN3.1)

Distribution map of Siberian stonechat, Saxicola maurus in Thailand
  • Amphawa District, Samut Songkhram
  • Ao Phang-Nga National Park
  • Aranyaprathet District, Sa Kaeo
  • Ban Laem District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Lat District, Phetchaburi
  • Ban Phai District, Khon Kaen
  • Ban Sang District, Prachinburi
  • Bang Ban District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Len District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Bang Pa In District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Pahan District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Bang Phra Non-hunting Area
  • Bang Pu Recreation Centre
  • Bangkok Province
  • Borabue District, Maha Sarakham
  • Bueng Boraped Non-hunting Area
  • Bueng Khong Long Non-hunting Area
  • Chae Hom District, Lampang
  • Chaiyo District, Ang Thong
  • Chatturat District, Chaiyaphum
  • Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Chiang Khong District, Chiang Rai
  • Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai
  • Doi Inthanon National Park
  • Doi Lo District, Chiang Mai
  • Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park
  • Doi Suthep-Pui National Park
  • Doi Tao District, Chiang Mai
  • Fang District, Chiang Mai
  • Hang Chat District, Lampang
  • Hat Noppharat Thara - Mu Ko Phi Phi National Park
  • Huai Chorakhe Mak Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Huai Nam Dang National Park
  • Huai Talat Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • In Buri District, Sing Buri
  • Kabin Buri District, Prachinburi
  • Kaeng Khoi District, Saraburi
  • Kaeng Khro District, Chaiyaphum
  • Kaeng Krachan District, Phetchaburi
  • Kaeng Krachan National Park
  • Kamphaeng Saen District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Kanthararom District, Sisaket
  • Kantharawichai District, Maha Sarakham
  • Khao Nang Panthurat Forest Park
  • Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Khao Yoi District, Phetchaburi
  • Khemarat District, Ubon Ratchathani
  • Khlong Luang District, Pathum Thani
  • Khon San District, Chaiyaphum
  • Khun Tan District, Chiang Rai
  • Klaeng District, Rayong
  • Ko Sichang District, Chonburi
  • Kumphawapi District, Udon Thani
  • Kut Thing Non-hunting Area
  • Laem Ngop District, Trat
  • Laem Pak Bia
  • Lam Nam Kok National Park
  • Lan Sak District, Uthai Thani
  • Li District, Lamphun
  • Mae Ai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Chan District, Chiang Rai
  • Mae Fa Luang District, Chiang Rai
  • Mae Mo District, Lampang
  • Mae Ping National Park
  • Mae Rim District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Sai District, Chiang Rai
  • Mae Sot District, Tak
  • Mae Taeng District, Chiang Mai
  • Mae Tha, Lampang District, Lampang
  • Mu Ko Chang National Park
  • Mueang Buriram District, Buriram
  • Mueang Chachoengsao District, Chachoengsao
  • Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai
  • Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai
  • Mueang Chonburi District, Chonburi
  • Mueang Chumphon District, Chumphon
  • Mueang Kalasin District, Kalasin
  • Mueang Kamphaeng Phet District, Kamphaeng Phet
  • Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen
  • Mueang Lampang District, Lampang
  • Mueang Lamphun District, Lamphun
  • Mueang Lopburi District, Lopburi
  • Mueang Maha Sarakham District, Maha Sarakham
  • Mueang Nakhon Nayok District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Mueang Nan District, Nan
  • Mueang Nong Khai District, Nong Khai
  • Mueang Pan District, Lampang
  • Mueang Phayao District, Phayao
  • Mueang Phetchaburi District, Phetchaburi
  • Mueang Phichit District, Phichit
  • Mueang Phitsanulok District, Phitsanulok
  • Mueang Ratchaburi District, Ratchaburi
  • Mueang Samut Sakhon District, Samut Sakhon
  • Mueang Samut Songkhram District, Samut Songkhram
  • Mueang Sisaket District, Sisaket
  • Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai
  • Mueang Suphanburi District, Suphan Buri
  • Mueang Surat Thani District, Surat Thani
  • Mueang Tak District, Tak
  • Mueang Udon Thani District, Udon Thani
  • Mueang Uttaradit District, Uttaradit
  • Nam Nao National Park
  • Nam Phong National Park
  • Non Sang District, Nong Bua Lamphu
  • Nong Bong Khai Non-hunting Area
  • Nong Song Hong District, Khon Kaen
  • Nong Suea District, Pathum Thani
  • Nong Waeng Non-hunting Area
  • Nong Ya Plong District, Phetchaburi
  • Nong Yai Area Development Project Under Royal Init
  • Pa Sak Chonlasit Dam Non-hunting Area
  • Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Pak Khat District, Bueng Kan
  • Pak Phli District, Nakhon Nayok
  • Pak Thale
  • Pak Tho District, Ratchaburi
  • Pang Sida National Park
  • Pang Sila Thong District, Kamphaeng Phet
  • Pathio District, Chumphon
  • Phaisali District, Nakhon Sawan
  • Phan District, Chiang Rai
  • Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park
  • Phu Khiao Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phu Kradueng National Park
  • Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Phutthamonthon District, Nakhon Pathom
  • Pran Buri District, Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Rattanawapi District, Nong Khai
  • Sai Noi District, Nonthaburi
  • Sakaerat Environmental Research Station
  • Samut Prakan Province
  • San Sai District, Chiang Mai
  • Sanam Bin Reservoir Non-hunting Area
  • Santi Suk District, Nan
  • Si Maha Phot District, Prachinburi
  • Si Satchanalai District, Sukhothai
  • Sri Nakarin Dam National Park
  • Taphan Hin District, Phichit
  • Tha Wung District, Lopburi
  • Thalang District, Phuket
  • Thale Noi Non-hunting Area
  • Thanyaburi District, Pathum Thani
  • Thawat Buri District, Roi Et
  • Thong Pha Phum National Park
  • Thung Salaeng Luang National Park
  • Wang Chan District, Rayong
  • Wang Noi District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
  • Wat Phai Lom & Wat Ampu Wararam Non-hunting Area
  • Wiang Chai District, Chiang Rai
  • Wiang Kaen District, Chiang Rai
  • Yang Talat District, Kalasin

Range map of Saxicola maurus in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

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