This book, the first monograph in English on the 14 Palearctic wheatear species, contains a thorough analysis of the co-ordinated evolution of their main morphological and behavioural features. As most of the species inhabit arid landscapes, the author has been able to present a wide ranging comparative discussion about how these remarkable birds adapt to an existence in extreme desert conditions. Some have expanded their ranges into temperate zone and even subarctic landscapes and the book describes how their life strategies have changed accordingly. Also examined, all within the framework of an integral system of adaptation, are evolutionary trends affecting changes in body size and plumage coloration, foraging behaviour, breeding dispersion, motor signal behaviour and vocalizations. Special attention is paid to the development of signal and communication behaviour in groups of closely related species at different stages of their divergent evolution.
Foreword * Acknowledgements * Introduction * 1. General features of wheatear biology * 2. Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina (Temminck, 1829) * 3. Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe (Linnaeus, 1758) * 4. Superspecies Red-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe xanthoprymna (Hemprich et Ehrenberg, 1833); O. chrysopygia (de Fillipi, 1863) * 5. Red-rumped Wheatear Oenanthe moesta (Lichtenstein, 1823) * 6. Finsch's Wheatear Oenanthe finschii (Heuglin, 1869) * 7. Superspecies Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens (Lichtenstein, 1823) * 8. Eastern Pied Wheatear Oenanthe picata (Blyth, 1847) * 9. Hume's Wheatear Oenanthe alboniger (Hume, 1872) * 10. White-crowned Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga (Brehm, 1855) * 11. Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura (Gmelin, 1789) * 12. Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica (Linnaeus, 1758) * 13. Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka (Lepechin, 1770) * 14. Hybrid populations in secondary contact zones of the Black-eared and Pied Wheatears (O. hispanica x O. pleschanka) * 15. Hooded Wheatear Oenanthe monacha (Temminck, 1825) * 16. Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti (Temminck, 1825) * Conclusion * Plates * References * Subject Index * Index of Animal Names