Stonechat - Saxicola torquata

Alternative names
Saxicola torquatus

Stonechats are robin-sized birds. Males have striking black heads with white around the side of their neck, orange-red breasts and a mottled brown back. Females lack the male's black head, but have brown backs and an orange tinge to their chests. They frequently flick their wings while perched, often doing so on the tops of low bushes. As its name suggests, they utter a sharp loud call that sounds like two stones being tapped together. They breed in Western and Southern parts of the UK, but disperse more widely in Winter.

Identification difficulty

Heaths, conifer plantations or coastal sites, especially in Southern and Western counties.

When to see it

All year round but mainly Winter in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Life History

They eat mainly invertebrates, seeds and fruit such as blackberries.

UK Status

Widespread but local in Britain, scarcer on the Eastern side of England.

VC55 Status

An uncommon Winter bird and bird of passage in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map