Saxicola torquata


A small, dumpy chat, the stonechat is a little smaller than a robin. Stonechats have quite a big head and short tail. They can frequently be seen sitting on the top of gorse bushes, flicking their wings and making a sound like two small stones being hit together. Stonechats inhabit heaths, bogs and conifer plantations. They eat invertebrates, seeds and fruit such as blackberries.

How to identify

Male stonechats are dark above with a black throat, white half-collar and orange-red breast. Females and juveniles are paler. Darker than the similar whinchat, the stonechat does not have a pale eyestripe or pale patches at the base of the tail.

Where to find it

Resident on moorland and heathland throughout the country. Can also be found on saltmarshes around the coast during the winter.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

To ensure that we keep populations of birds like the stonechat healthy, The Wildlife Trusts are working towards a 'Living Landscape': a network of habitats and wildlife corridors across town and country which are good for both wildlife and people. You can support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Saxicola torquata
Thrushes, chats, flycatchers, starling, dipper and wren
Length: 13cm Wingspan: 20cm Weight: 15g Average Lifespan: up to 4 years
Conservation status