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The European Stonechat (Saxicola rubicola) is of the chat family Muscicapidae which is in the genus Saxicola. Preferred habitats include rough grassland, sand dunes and heathland where it is typically seen perched on brambles, gorse or shrubs within the breeding area.
In the temperate part of its range, nesting commences in late March and up to three broods are raised. It is a partial migrant. Populations from the colder regions move to spend the winter in southern Europe and northern Africa. Successive hard winters, as was the case in 2009/10 and 2010/11 caused severe losses in the mainly sedentary northwestern populations.There are two subspecies generally recognised, Saxicola rubicola rubicola occurs in central, eastern and southern Europe as well as northern Morocco and southeastern Turkey. Saxicola rubicola hibernans occurs in northwestern Europe including Britain, Ireland, France and Norway.
Patrick J. O'Keeffe / Raw Birds